Derek Boogaard, Mark Parrish, Mike Greenlay and Dan Terhaar
|The green team with the Wells Fargo crew in wonderful Waseca. |
Leg number one got one person bigger and much greener on Day Two. Our group of five grew to six this morning when we picked up Mark Parrish in Rochester this morning. He was here yesterday as part of Shjon Podein’s charity golf tournament. He looked a little tired, and I’m not sure what his excuse his because he wasn’t involved in a fierce battle with the Treasure Island All You Can Eat buffet last night like us. Even though he's new to our group, we let him wear the green Wild polo shirt like the rest of us.
We all hit the hay pretty early last night due to what Mike Greenlay termed a “food coma.” Now might be a good time to mention that we are already the heaviest group on the Wells Fargo Wild Road Tour. Everybody on here weighs over 200 pounds and only Parrish is less than six feet tall, so we pick on him. Greenlay estimates that our combined weight with the bus driver is up around 1400 pounds, and last night’s buffet didn’t cause us to get any lighter
Anyway, after picking up Parrish and chowing down some McDonald’s breakfast (we just did beat the 10:30 AM threshold, which is always a great feeling), we arrived at the Rochester Rec Center, where another large throng awaited us. The line wound around the building, but we still were able to usher the fans through in the allotted hour. A couple television stations interviewed the boys, and then we made our way to Chipotle, which made The Boogeyman very happy. Being in Regina all summer, the big man has been missing out on the burrito goodness. Aside from meeting his biggest fans in Southern Minnesota, I’m pretty sure that the Chipotle lunch was the highlight of his trip so far.
Stop two on the day was Waseca, and if I can be frank, this stop just blew us away. Despite the heat beating down on them, hundreds of fans stood out in the Wells Fargo parking lot more than an hour before our event started. It was easily our biggest crowd of the tour. KOWZ was out there and they did a fantastic job of promoting the event. We couldn’t believe the size of the line that stretched a city block.
The group was more than a little sweaty on the bus ride to Mankato tonight, but the ride wasn’t too long. We’ve checked into the hotel and now the task will be to find a place to eat, and of course Parrish wants to watch the Twins game somewhere. I think that sounds like a great idea.Leg Two
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Stephane Veilleux, Mike Ramsey and Brad Bombardir
By Aaron Sickman
A quick recap from last night, some of us worked out at the local YMCA and some of us played golf (I only lost six golf balls playing the front nine including an X on the second hole). Speaking of golf, there is a hole on the front nine at Wendigo’s golf course that you can play as either a par four or a par three…very strange. Two separate greens and everything. I didn’t lose a ball on that hole fortunately and ended getting a five as we played the par four hole. We enjoyed a tremendous meal last night and followed that up with a great continental breakfast at the resort and after nine more holes of golf (played the back nine this morning and only lost one golf ball) and workouts by the players, it was off to KOZY/KMFY to record some liners and interviews. Mike Ramsey spent the night at his cabin and beat us to the radio station as it took Brad Bombardir forever to fax some documents before we could finally leave the hotel.
We were once again greeted by a great crowd when we arrived at The Depot in Grand Rapids shortly after 11:30 a.m. We were all very happy to see clouds in the sky today, as the air conditioner in our bus does not work today so we are driving around with the back vent open. Very pleasant event at The Depot as almost 200 people were able to meet our Wild celebrities and the fans consumed lots of Schweigert hot dogs and cokes. It was amazing to see all the youngsters that came to the event sporting their Wild colors. The people of Grand Rapids love their hockey! It was also nice to see Trent Klatt at the event as he does a great job for the Grand Rapids hockey association. We stopped at Zorbaz for lunch on the way to our “Super Stop” in Brainerd and let me tell you, no one can order food like Bombardir. For lunch he ordered up a large chicken ranch pizza and a soft shell taco. That’s right folks, he was that hungry after eating two hot dogs at our first appearance. He said he ordered it for the table, but somehow we all managed to order our own lunch. Needless to see he wasn’t able to come close to eating everything so we have added a to go pizza box to our supplies on the road. Hang on…had to stop typing and shut our vent as it is now raining outside. Imagine that, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
is sleeping again. Can’t wait to see Kevin Falness and Scott Henninger in Brainerd…
The sun reappeared as we approached Brainerd and sure enough another large crowd was waiting for us at the Super Stop at Brainerd Civic Center. After the players completed a few interviews with local media (KVBR Radio, The Brainerd Dispatch and Lakeland Public Television) Falness rifled through some questions during a 30-minute question and answer session with the celebrities. Following the Q+A everyone was able to move under the Wells Fargo tent for autographs and photo’s. Over 250 people received autographs and once everyone was taken care of, Bouchard and Veilleux picked up a stick and played some PowerAde Power Hockey with kids for the final 30 minutes of our stop. Then it was on to the Brainerd Blue Thunder game as the players are scheduled to throw out the first pitch of tonight’s game. I have to mention that our air conditioning still doesn’t work and now that the sun has come back out in full force we are extremely warm traveling to (and from) the baseball game.
Bouchard and Veilleux signed autographs for fans at the game and the entire Blue Thunder roster walked over and introduced themselves to the players and gave them some pointers on throwing out the first pitch. The boys had a chance to throw some warm-up pitches and when it was their turn to throw the first pitch, they both threw strikes. Very impressive stuff. We watched the first inning and saw the home team take an early 1-0 lead before taking off for Breezy Point and our final destination on day two. Let me reiterate that the sun is shining and we do not have air conditioning, not good news…Leg Three
Brent Burns, Josh Harding, Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid
By Maggie Kukar
|Harding and Burns share a laugh on the mound before throwing out the first pitches of the game. |
Day 2 for Leg 3 of the 2007 Minnesota Wild Wells Fargo Road Tour started where else, but a stop at McDonald’s? Brent Burns got his usual 14 hash browns while Tom Reid dined on his usual breakfast burritos. Leaving Sioux Falls the weather looked as though it wasn’t going to corporate with us but we arrived in Yankton, South Dakota early and with plenty of sun. Our friends at Culhane Communications greeted us with open arms. Brent and Josh along with Tom and Bob chatted with Jeff Culhane on-air before heading out to the main street where the event was taking place. Now we know many Wild.com fans are probably thinking that Yankton, SD can’t have a large hockey following but indeed the youth hockey program is thriving! Their clubs are called “Miracle Youth Hockey” for a couple of reasons. The first being, naysayer’s said it would be a miracle to get an ice rink and program in town and the other is Patti Brooks (wife of the late Herb Brooks) was originally from Yankton. The rink was built after a lot of work and generosity from the folks in Yankton and the surrounding communities. The Schweigert hot dogs and Coke were a big hit with all of the fantastic fans. It was a great turnout. Almost every member of the traveling crew enjoyed a hot dog before heading to lunch.
Lunch was at a nice little Restaurant at the Marina in Yankton were again our friends at Culhane Communications treated us very well! From lunch it was a quick jaunt to Sioux City, IA. Yes that is our 3rd state in 2 days!
We had to hurry to Lewis & Clark Park so Brent and Josh could take BP with the Sioux City Explorers. At first look, both Brent and Josh were in awe as to how quickly the ball was coming at them. Brent took the first swing at Northern League BP. He wasn’t sure baseball was his game but his attitude changed when he started to make contact. Josh had no problem stepping up and making solid contacts. Even hitting coach Billy Williams said he knew he’d swung the bat before.
Across the parking lot to the IDP Ice Center we went. The Sioux Falls Fire Department was out in force. There was even a dunk tank! That was pretty fun for the youth hockey members as the lucky (it was 97 degrees out) people getting dunked were their coaches. The event was another good one as Sioux City was extremely happy to have us. AM 620 was also on hand to talk what else, hockey! We again had great local media coverage as three television stations were on hand as well as the Sioux City Journal.
You’d think we’re done for the day, oh no. It was back to Lewis & Clark Park where Josh and Brent’s friends at the Explorers asked them to throw out the first pitch. Josh sent a heater to the catcher. Brent’s pitch didn’t have as much speed but it had accuracy. Bob Kurtz was filling in the traveling crew on the opposing team, the St. Joe Blacksnakes. Bob had just broadcast a game with the Blacksnakes at the St. Paul Saints last weekend. The Skybox’s at the Park were just great and as the temperature went down, the game was a great way to cap our second day.
With two nice stops in South Dakota and Iowa, where else would this traveling party sleep, Nebraska! That’s right Leg 3 will rest in Nebraska before heading off to Minnesota tomorrow.
Sincerely – your Leg 3 traveling party,
Brent Burns, Josh Harding
, Tom Reid, Bob Kurtz, Emily Gausman and Maggie Kukar