Do you know what sucks more than Pumpkin Spice-anything? Waiting for hockey season. We are past mid-September which means horrible wind chills are right around the corner. But what that also means, obviously, is that hockey season is coming too. Torqued.
Skates are being laced, nets are being re-strung and pads are being dusted off. Another year of epic hip-checks, saucer passes and top-shelf wristers is almost here!!!
The past couple of posts, I’ve talked about the Minnesota Wild, but let’s turn our attention a little farther south to the beautiful city of Des Moines, Iowa for a bit. It is here that you will find Wells Fargo Arena, home of the AHL Iowa Wild (as well as the NBA G League, Iowa Wolves). I had the distinct privilege of meeting up with Ben Gislason, Manager of Media Relations for the Iowa Wild this week. Not only did he provide a tour of this awesome facility that is Wells Fargo Arena, but we had the chance to talk hockey and what it means to Minnesota and Iowa.
Gislason is a Burnsville, MN native and before joining the Wild organization, he worked for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. The Iowa Wild have been the affiliate for the Minnesota Wild since the 2013-14 season. Walking around Wells Fargo Arena, had a very similar feel to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Big windows overlooking the home city, wide concourses and lavish suite areas. The seating around the bowl brings an intimate feel and is sure to delight any hockey fan who attends a game.
Like the Minnesota Wild, the southern Wild club gives back to their community by partnering with schools and nonprofits to provide hockey equipment to youth and teaching them the rules of the game with their Healthy Living Floor Hockey Program and Junior Crash Course. Gislason also stated that the Iowa club also interacts with their counterparts in Minnesota to ensure that they are providing the best possible fan experience in Iowa. More to come on the Iowa Wild this season, particularly the season home opener on October 22, as they will face the Rockford IceHogs.
The Wild clubs have young, exciting talent such as Adam Beckman, who was the 2020 WHL Player of the Year after tallying 107 points (48G, 59A) in just 63 games – oh, and a plus-minus of 44, that’s pretty damn good, I’d say. Matt Boldy, a finalist for the 2020-21 Hobey Baker Award and a gold medalist with Team USA at last year’s U20 World Championships will bring some offensive firepower to the team, as he averaged 1.29 points per game during his 14 games last year. Many are expecting Boldy to see action up in St. Paul this year in the big leagues. Marco Rossi, is another big-name youngster who is creating a lot of buzz. He was the 2020 OHL Player of the Year after putting up an incredible 120-point season (39G, 81A). Putting him on the same line as Kirill Kaprizov, whenever he decides to show up, would be pretty amazing.
Speaking of the aforementioned Kaprizov, it is now a certainty that he will miss the start of training camp when the Wild open on September 23. He has a seven-day quarantine and a work visa procedure that he will need to get through. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that he isn’t signed yet, but once he’s on the ice, the Wild will have an exciting team to watch again this year. The Wild announced this week that they will have 13 nationally televised games this year, on ESPN, ABC, Hulu and TNT, including the season opener at the Anaheim Ducks on October 15 on Hulu and EPSN+. That’s less than a month away *smirk* Lets go Wild!