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Minnesota owner Leipold pens letter to fans: “We are obviously thrilled with this outcome”

Jul 4, 2012, 1:43 PM EDT

Leipold AP

In a move out of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s book (minus the vitriol and Comic Sans font), Minnesota owner Craig Leipold issued a letter to Wild fans discussing the signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million deals.

Read the letter here

Rather than post Leipold’s entire missive, I’ll highlight the interesting parts:

He acknowledged the team’s been lousy lately

The Wild haven’t made the playoffs in four years — coincidentally, Leipold bought the team four years ago — and last year was just the third time in franchise history the Wild had more losses than wins.

“Long story short …things didn’t work out the way I expected,” Leipold wrote. “Issues in and out of our control went south, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge we have struggled.”

There were pricier offers on the table

“I know they both had numerous, attractive offers (some higher than ours),” the Minnesota owner wrote.

Given that Parise and Suter signed for $98 million, it’s safe to assume someone — or some teams — offered nine digits.

Minnesota had a secret weapon

No, it wasn’t the ability to spend $196 million dollars. Leipold said it’s something more much precious than that.

I felt like we had a “secret weapon” working in our favor during these negotiations…the spirit and dedication of you fans of the State of Hockey. It’s no secret that both Zach and Ryan have strong ties to this area. They’ve had first-hand experience with the extraordinary pride and unrelenting passion of our fans. Ultimately,
I firmly believe that you fans were the deciding factor in their decision.

A little  corny, but hey. It’s July 4th and the Wild just pulled off a coup.

Chuck Fletcher deserves a ton of credit

Leipold wrote the cheques, but it was clear more than money was required to finalize the deals (especially since both *allegedly* left cash on the table.) The Wild owner praised his GM’s “ambitious plan” and is “extremely proud” of the work Fletcher and his group did in landing Parise and Suter.

In closing — this was a big day for the state of Minnesota.

Soak it in, Wild fans.

  1. florida76 - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Minnesota still isn’t a serious Cup contender, so the backslapping seems premature. It’s obvious the location played a huge role in these signings, so luck was a big factor. I don’t know how anyone can call Minnesota the state of hockey when it’s been such a failure at the NHL level. The North Stars/Wild have combined for the paltry total of two conference titles, that’s embarrassing.

    • lordfletcher - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      The Stars and failure do not belong in the same sentence. It’s not Minnesota’s fault their owner was selling the team because he couldn’t keep his hot dog in his pants and his wife forced the sale…

      and the Wild are 10 years into their existence.

      settle down hater.

    • gooterbaby - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      Classy move by the Owner to send a personal letter to his fans (despite you trying to take away from that). The Wild are a very deep team now and soon all the haters will see. Cant wait to have you on our bandwagon for the year to come.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      It’s the State of Hockey because

      – we put more hockey players in the Olympics (for hockey) than any other state.

      – well sell out the X for high school games

      – we have 5 d-1 college hockey teams and 2 d-1 womens teams, and win championnships with them

      – we put more players in the NHL than any other state

      – every kid in Minnesota learns to skate the minute they can walk

      there is more to being the state of hockey, than just the NHL team

      • obamablowz - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        So i suppose Florida is the state of football because they can’t sell out any NFL games but everyone goes to Gators/Hurricane games and they put players into the NFL? Minnesota lost a franchise once because of all that “great hockey state.”

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        No, they lost a franchise once because the owner who was married, couldn’t keep his johnson in his pants. lady workers of the north stars filed a law suit, he was forced to move the team because of his wife. go look it up.

        the reason they were even allowed to leave in the first place, was because bettman was in the commissioner’s office for 3 months before they left. he didn’t know all the facts, which is why st. paul was given a brand new franchise less than 3 years later.

    • percybowl - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      It’s the “State of Hockey” because our peewee teams could destroy any other state’s high school teams.

  2. mydadyourmom - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    They should have a party Heat style. Fly Bosh in too.

    • bcjim - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Or Vikings style…rent a boat, get some skanks…

      • mnhockeyfan - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        Yep. Hit up those international waters on Lake Minnetonka.

  3. bcjim - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I dont believe *any* dman is worth that much and Parise….its ok in terms of $$ but til he is 40? I suppose it is frontloaded? The Cap will go up (I guess) so this may really be a 8/80? Or something.

  4. capesouth - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Certainly makes them a playoff team. A cup contender though..not so much.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Not a Cup contender this year, however you just need to get into the playoffs to have a shot. The 8 seeded Kings proved that.

      But realistically, no they are not a Cup contender this year, but next year when they have another 13 million minimum to spend on free agents, then they will be. Assuming the Cup goes up, your looking a even more than 13 million. They won’t need to sign bottom tier players because they have 7 legit prospects that will be in their first contracts making not a whole lot. If they can pull something like this off again next summer, then they will be Cup contenders.

      It’s much more of a destination now that they have Koivu, Parise, and Suter locked up long term.

      • capesouth - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Ya, nothing wrong with the current situation there. I think this is proof they are heading in the right direction. Teams that make moves like this usually do well in the end. They will compete this year but I would be surprised if they made the finals.

  5. mikeincmn - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Great day to be a Wild fan. I suspect it also helped Wild ownership sign off knowing they have a nice window here to really pull casual fans back in. The Vikings will likely suck this year, Timberwolves are fun by an idiot and the Twins are in last place.

    Wild have a chance to really grab a lot of cash that might have gone to those teams that now might become season ticket orders and Parise and Suter sweaters.

  6. mnwildfan78 - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    In the NHL, if you can make the playoffs, you are a Cup contender. Look what happened this past year….

  7. wenzel0232 - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I’ve had hookers that are better than these two over rated fools.

  8. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Man with all the haters out their, Minnesota Wild should feel like the Miami Heat (minus the expectation of winning the Cup the first year)

  9. kcredneck - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Let now move on from this , what’s next a OPRAH interview!

  10. kirschmania - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    greatminnesotasportsmind…could’ve have said it better.

  11. adamclangley - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Sign all the free agents!

  12. icyirish - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    w ow lot of haters out there, I SAY THIS AS A RANGER FAN landing those 2 is major score,havent seen suter as much as parise, but that kid is not only great hes a class act. Congrats to wild.

  13. scionofflame - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I’m not a hater but Wild fans, you need to be realistic here. The guys need at least a season or two to settle in, your prospects get a little more seasoned. It’s great news for you, but be realistic.

    • spiciercheez - Jul 4, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      I agree 100%, but it sure is fun to be excited about our team for once!

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        All this does was put players where they belong on the depth chart. Brodziak is a nice 3rd liner, which is where he belongs, not the 2nd. Scandella is a nice defenseman, young, but belongs on the 2nd line. Players like Ortmeyer, Nick Johnson, et al don’t even belong on most NHL rosters, let alone the 3rd line.

        The Wild have 7 very good prospects, including Granlund, who is maybe the top prospect in the NHL.

  14. chiadam - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Lots of keg stands on the Haterade today. I say good for the Wild fans. Enjoy a day like this. As a Hawks fan, I loom forward to years of watching these teams get after it. So back off on the envy and admit it’s a whale of a day for some pretty damn good hockey fans.

  15. purpleguy - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Now Wild fans have something to be excited about. We may not be a Stanley Cup contender, but now there’s at least a chance. No State comes close to MN when it comes to the love of hockey from an overall perspective. These guys wanted to come home and sttle down in a decent community with an owner willing to spend, a passionate fan base, and solid young prospects. They even turned down more money from other teams. Good for them and good for MN hockey fans. The Sour grapes from the fans of the losing teams is as predictable as their boasts that each player would sign with their tem in the first place.

  16. ray2013 - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    I’m excited to see what they can do. Can they win the division now, or will it still be the Canucks?

    On the other side, what happens to Detroit and NJ, who were counting on signing one of them to fill major holes in their team?

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      They may not beat the Canucks for the division title, but they are gonna make a legit run at them. I like the Wild’s chances better today than yesterday. I really like their chances if Luongo gets traded. But, the sad part of that, Luongo struggles vs Minnesota.

      • ray2013 - Jul 4, 2012 at 7:11 PM

        The past couple of years, the Canucks have basically been handed the division title, with none of the other teams making the playoffs last year. Hopefully, the Wild make the next step forward. Added quite a bit of talent.

  17. nvandy42 - Jul 4, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    You all can hate but everyone knows you’re just butt hurt. We were 1st in the NHL in points mid december last year before injuries happened. NJ made it to the Stanley Cup and everyone says they are a bad team without Parise. Well, you are adding that talent along with a top 5 d man to a team that has shown they can play playoff caliber hockey. Everyone who says that we wont be Cup contenders can suck it from behind. We going to the chip!!!

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