A Wild Winter Adventure

February 13, 2015

This winter’s bucket list held an activity that I have been aiming to experience for quite some time. As someone who grew up in a cold state like Minnesota, I’m a bit ashamed to say that before this winter, I had never experienced a professional hockey game.

Mission accomplished! And mission enjoyed.

MN Wild_MHAs a Saint Paul gal myself, this adventure was off to a great start when I headed over to my stomping grounds and savored a pre-game dinner at a family favorite – Cossetta’s. The Italian marketplace was teeming with fans adorned in any type of Wild gear you could imagine. However, you could also imagine that a ceratin someone stuck out like a sore thumb as possibly the only person in the restaurant without Wild gear on (except for the one table of LA Kings fans in the corner).

Arriving at the Xcel Energy Center, I took it all in, walking around the perimeter of the stadium and even snapping a photo posing as a Wild fan. After snagging a beer and finding my seat, I was fortunate enough to sit next to an LA Kings fan (of course!) who was originally from Minnesota and kind enough to share some MN Wild and hockey knowledge with me.

Fun Facts from My Seatmate

  • While I like to call it ‘timeout,’ I was informed that players are sent to the penalty box and teams are down a player for up to 10 minutes
  • A standard hockey rink is about 200 feet long
  • The team that played in MN before the Wild were the North Stars
  • The Xcel Energy Center was built to house the Wild team
  • The Wild were founded in 1997 but didn’t join the NHL until 2000
  • The Hockey Hall of Fame is actually located in Ontario
  • Before the early 1900s, referees had to set the hockey puck down on the ice for faceoff, but due to many injuries, they can now drop it.
  • Five members of the Wild team are from Finland – fondly referred to as ‘Finnesotans’

While I never warmed up enough to take off my coat and luckily did not have to reveal that I had zero Wild gear or team spirit to show, I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to cross a bucket-list experience off my list, watch the Wild in action — and see the defending Stanley cup champions. As a novice hockey spectator, my husband warned me that the game would be low-scoring and I was surprised to see the Kings score four goals in just the first period. It was a full house, a fast-paced game and a lot of fun.

Thanks to the Fast Horse ‘Muse It Or Lose It’ program, I have a new experience under my belt — and a new appreciation for this exciting winter sport. And, thanks to my seatmate, I learned a lot about the game and can’t wait to sneak in at least one more game before the season ends.