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Wild Fans Get Chance To Paint Xcel Center Ice

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

A group of Minnesota Wild Season Ticket Holders were on the Xcel Energy Center ice on Saturday, paint brushes in hand, helping to put the finishing touches on the sheet before training camp begins.

Led by Wild Ice Operations Manager Travis Larson, the group helped paint the blue lines, the center line, and the faceoff dots as part of a new event.

“It’s a little different, but it’s always good. I was just trying to figure out what they can do,” Larson said. “It’s always with the first time like, how much time is it going to take?”

Larson said it took 12 hours to chill the floor from room temperature to 16 degrees, at which it can be painted. From there, it was painted white, and sealed with water by freezing over. With the white coat down, the ice was ready for fans to paint its lines and circles.

“Really the only important part of the entire ice sheet is between the pipes, and the goal crease,” Larson said. “The two-inch line has to be two inches exactly, and my staff are handling that. Other than that, everything else is just a big coloring book.

“Everything is laid out, already there, so if they can color in the lines, they’ve it down.”

Jan Duda watched from a seat along the glass as her two daughters moved from circle to circle, painting the dots their familiar red.

“They’re pretty low-key, but I could see when they were taking the paintbrushes and looking down that they were pretty excited,” said Duda, who described one of her daughters as a serious hockey fan.

“This is totally different than what they’d normally be doing on a Saturday morning,” she said. “My hockey fan there will do anything for hockey. And I didn’t tell her about this before I bid, I just thought, ‘if I get it, I get it; great.’ When I won I called her up, and she was like, ‘Oh my god. Are there going to be any players there?’”

The event inches the calendar one step closer to hockey’s return, as the arena is prepped and outfitted with all its final needs.

“It’s the end of my social life until spring,” Larson joked. “Other than that, it means hockey season is here finally, and luckily we had a shorter summer than most. But it’s good, and it’s exciting in that way.”

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