About Minnesota Wild
Minnesota has long been a hotbed of professional, collegiate and amateur hockey. Professional hockey began when the expansion Minnesota North Stars were added to the NHL in 1967. Sadly for Minnesota hockey fans, the North Stars moved south to Dallas in 1993, leaving a large void in the state. Finally, in 1997, the National Hockey League announced the return of hockey to the Twin Cities.
The teams name was selected after a local contest
ran for six months. The team name "Wild"
was announced in January 1998 and refers to the
state of Minnesota’s many outdoor wildlife
areas and, of course, the wild feelings fans project
regarding the love of hockey. The team colors were
chosen as Forrest Green, Iron Range Red, Harvest
Gold and Minnesota Wheat. The logo design is a stylized
animal's profile, with a mural of green trees, red
sky, a yellow sun, with a white star as the eye
and a river as the mouth.
The owner of the team, Bob Naegele Jr. selected
former Calgary Flame player and general manager
Doug Risebrough as the GM of the Wild and former
Montreal Canadiens great and New Jersey Devil coach
Jacques Lemaire as the head coach.
The Minnesota Wild began regular season play in the 2000-01 NHL season. They featured a mix of young players and hard working journey men NHLers who fit in well with Lemaire's tight defensive style of hockey. The Minnesota Wild made their NHL regular season debut on October 6, 2000, losing 3-1 to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Rookie first round pick Marian Gaborik scored the first-ever goal in Wild history in the second period. Their home debut at the brand new Xcel Energy Center was later that week against the Philadelphia Flyers, ending in a 3-3 tie. Ten days later they would shutout the Florida Panthers to record their first ever franchise win. Led in scoring by the rookie Gaborick, the Wild finished their first year at the bottom of the Northwest division with a 25-39-13-5 record for 63 points. Their second season saw a marked increase in point production during the regular season though once again they trailed their division with a 26-35-12-9 record.
The breakout year for Lemaire's team was the 2002-03 season. The Wild saw Marion Gaborik come into his own along with goaltenders Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson. The Wild finished third in the Northwest division with a 42-29-10-1 record and a club high 95 points. In the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs they faced a see-saw battle against the powerhouse Colorado Avalanche. Winning the series on Colorado ice, the Wild then had to face the Vancouver Canucks, another tough team. Once again, the Wild stunned their opponents and ended up winning the series in the final game in Vancouver and the Wild underdogs advanced to face the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Unfortunately, the Wild ran out of gas and the Ducks swept them in four straight games.
Despite losing the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup in only their third season, the Wild remain a tough hockey powerhouse. They are extremely competitive in the Northwest Division and are favored to win more titles in the years to come. Their solid regular season play and ability for playoff heroics make the much loved team a hot commodity. The brand new Xcel Energy Center in St Paul has four seating levels that hold 18,064 screaming hockey fans and regularly sells out. This fast paced Minnesota Wild team is sure to impress fans for many years to come. Go Wild!