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Report: Wild successfully lobby NHL, will open at home on Hockey Day in Minnesota

Jan 10, 2013, 2:57 PM EDT

Zach Parise, Ryan Suter Getty Images

The new-look Minnesota Wild will open the regular season with a home date against the Colorado Avalanche — but it didn’t come without persuasion, according to the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo.

An earlier report said the Wild would open at Colorado, meaning Zach Parise and Ryan Suter would make their Minnesota debuts on the road.

That’s something the Wild weren’t thrilled with, given owner Craig Leipold spent like crazy this summer to bring Parise and Suter aboard, a move he called “a game changer.”

Here’s more, from Russo:

The Wild’s opener was going to be AT Colorado on Jan. 19.

It is now back at home after the Wild made its case to the league that the team should open at home on the day this sport is celebrated in the great state of Minnesota. The league, after flipping some things around, has worked to accomodate the request.

So as of now, … barring any other changes, the Wild is expected to open at home Jan. 19 against Colorado.

Russo notes the NHL schedule “has had a lot of moving parts” and things are still subject to change.

But it’s safe to assume this Wild game will go on as reported, and the Hockey Day in Minnesota tie-in probably played a role.

The event is an all-day affair celebrating various levels of in-state play. The Wild-Avalanche game will be preceded by a pair of high school contests, then a game between the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers — the top-ranked team in collegiate hockey — and rivals North Dakota.

For all the latest on potential Jan. 19 opening night games, click here.

  1. phipfwe76 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    So because they signed new players means they get special treatment? What the hell is this, the NBA?

    • lordfletcher - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Hockey day in MN is an all day run from 9am to 9pm, indoor and outdoor hockey being played all across the state all levels of competition… it makes sense for the game to be at home and its not that big of a deal that they changed it around… who cares really,

      haters gotta hate

    • kopy - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      It’s a holiday here. Hockey day was scheduled for the 19th because a full slate of interesting Minnesota high school, NCAA, and NHL hockey games were scheduled on that day. This was just the Wild successfully asking the NHL to not backspin on its promise to have a home game on the 19th.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      It’s big enough NBC carries the Wild game on Hockey Day Minnesota against the defending Stanley Cup champions Boston Bruins last year. It’s big enough NBC carried the game 2 years ago regionally before NBC went to a 1 game lineup against Detroit.

      • ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Your getting your holidays messed up. The Bruins game was Hockey Day in America, same as the other NBC game two years with Detroit. Hockey Day in America is in February, but the Wild has been on it both years.

        Hockey Day Minnesota has been running since 2007 and is a partnership with FSN and is generally in January. Last year the Wild beat the Stars 5-2.

  2. scionofflame - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    God forbid Craig Leipold not get what he wants. OH NOOOOOO.

    • jrmehle - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      This has very little to do with the owner. This is a celebrated day for hockey fans in MN. I look forward to it every year because I can sit on my couch and watch hockey from 10AM til 10PM.

  3. lsxphotog - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I don’t believe any of this is true…Colorado fans with January 19th tickets are SOL?

    • scionofflame - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      They haven’t put tickets on sale until the schedule is released, so no. There are no Colorado fans with tickets to the game that was moved.

      • lsxphotog - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Well seeing that I’m a season ticket holder in Tampa and have already payed for my tickets, the ticket cards were mailed to me. I have two tickets to a game on the 19th in Tampa. My account manager said as of right now, that’s accurate – the opponent is not accurate and he might know that by Friday.

        So there is a good chance someone with season tickets will be wondering why they don’t have tickets to a home game in Colorado, provided the Avs also mailed their tickets ahead.

      • Jeff - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        why would they mail tix with dates and opponents before the schedule or season was even determined? LOL

  4. davepol - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Hockey Day in Minnesota. Haha. No doubt another example of commerce masquerading as tradition (e.g. Elf on the Shelf)!

    • spiciercheez - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      You don’t know much

      • davepol - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        NHL hockey is a business. That much I do know.

      • lamborginipercy12 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        Since when is a massive pond hockey tournament in Grand Rapids Minnesota another example of commerce masquerading anything. What a dope.

  5. yanks33 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    As a Avanche fan all i can say is this is ridiculous

    • yanks33 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:25 PM


  6. thecheeman - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    The Wild fans just can’t wait to see Zach streak down the ice from his own zone with incredible speed and score a magnificent goal unleash a hellish slapshot skate with the puck in open ice hang around the goal and attempt to stuff loose pucks right inside the post. Who can blame them?

  7. migoli - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    bet diamonds to donuts none of you would complain if it were your team asking for a change……. but this is the fun of ignorant internet comments!

    • murtdurt - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      I don’t hear penguin fans complaining they open up on the road IN philly. Leopold sounds like an only child…always gets his way even if he needs to cry his way to get it

  8. thecheeman - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I guess I need different html tags? Preview would be nice.

    The Wild fans just can’t wait to see Zach streak down the ice from his own zone with incredible speed and score a magnificent goal unleash a hellish slapshot skate with the puck in open ice hang around the goal and attempt to stuff loose pucks right inside the post. Who can blame them?

    • lamborginipercy12 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Certainly has nothing to do with seeing a hometown boy comeback and play pro hockey where his dad played too…

      Sour grapes anyone?

      • thecheeman - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        I think Hockey Day in Minnesota sounds swell and it’s not even surprising that Bettman didn’t have something like that earmarked so that any revised schedule would keep a game in Minnesota.

        Having said that I’m a Devils fan and of course it’s sour grapes. Zach is still one of the more limited superstars you’re ever going to pay top dollar for, and that is sincere.

        Any Wild fans hit me up during the year if you disagree, sincerely. I’m going to try and watch more Wild games than usual (usual = when they play the Devils) but I won’t see them game in game out and I want to know if they’re asking him to do things he never did in Jersey.

      • lordfletcher - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        Having a “limited” superstar is better than having role players like the Wild have had since their existence (outside of Gabby) … For us Wild fans, getting Suter and Parise finally gave us something to look forward to, call it hope and a real sense of having a team and a legitimate contending squad for years. We will have plenty of years to debate how good or not great Parise is, he isn’t going anywhere.

        Imagine your passion is hockey, I mean a SERIOUS passion your whole life. You had arguably one of the greatest sports teams ever in the North Stars and they leave to go win the Cup a few years down the road in Dallas of all places.. Years after we get a new team that surprises us early on limited talent and defeats the Avs and eventually loses in the western cup finals, ever since then we have been limited and very dull. Our current leadership in Fletcher and Leipold has really turned things around, I for one could care less how other fans perceive them / us / anyone. I am for once in a very, very long time truly excited to watch my team play outside of it just being hockey. we have a chance….

    • davepol - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      In Pittsburgh, we call that “doing a Robert Lang!”

  9. ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Hockey Day Minnesota is an annual thing, and the day is scheduled based upon when the Wild and Gophers are both home in January. The Wild were originally scheduled to be home on the 19th which is why it was scheduled there. Makes sense to keep them home on that day.

  10. nvandy42 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    It’s supposed to be a home and home on consecutive days. You Avs fans will get a home game the very next day so stop crying. It’s really not even that big of a deal. Who cares who gets the home game first…. The Lockout is over and now people are just looking for something else to complain about, unbelievable….

    • andidee15 - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      The Pepsi Center is completely free on the 19th, but the Nuggets have dibs on the 20th. I suppose an early afternoon game could still take place if the home-and-home opened in Minnesota, but the venue change may have altered the back-to-back gameplan too.

      Honestly, I don’t care if we start the season on the road or not – I’m just looking forward to hockey. I just wish they’d pick an arena and stick with it. All this back and forth is making me dizzy.

      I also don’t envy the people trying to put together this season’s schedule. What a absolute mess.

      • nvandy42 - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM


  11. lamborginipercy12 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Everyone complains about teams being in markets where people don’t play hockey, but then complain about arguably the foremost event celebrating the largest hockey market in the US, NHL or no. How can you criticize a move promoting something good for the game itself that only requires changing an unofficial schedule that shouldn’t even be as released as its been. Don’t complain about how the lockout didn’t concern itself with what’s best for the game, and then whine over moving a game that wasn’t even scheduled, to better celebrate the game.

  12. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    lsxphotog: One of our local twitter guys said we’ll open against the Caps.

    As for the story, the NHL really should have been aware of this to begin with. Doesn’t look good changing it now just to make one team happy, and if I’m an Avs fan I wouldn’t be too thrilled about the team suddenly having to go on the road and be the victims of Minnesota’s player unveiling + hockey party just because Leopold threw a tantrum.

    Of course, if the Avs win then spoiling the party would feel awesome, so ultimately it’s much ado over nothing. Win the game and none of it will matter.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      Nothing really changes except maybe the start time. The Wild play Colorado and then hop on a plane and play Colorado the following night. The home opener has always been a 7:30 start time. It will probably be pushed back to 8:00 so FSN can finish their coverage of North Dakota and Minnesota which starts at 5:00 local time.

      Hockey Day Minnesota, you don’t think the college schedule was fixed to have Minnesota’s biggest rival (in hockey) and Zach Parise’s alma mater play on hockey day. Yup, just an average Saturday.

  13. akismet-41c60be47266e2df3efb59ad3f309733 - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Guys a correction. Minnesota is not playing Colorado again on the 20th. You missing something there. Denver Nuggets are at home that night. Reports from Michael Russo is that Minnesota may have a home game on the 20th also or no game. it won’t be a back to back with Colorado.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Ok so Minnesota doesn’t have a home and home with Colorado then. But guess what, it doesn’t matter. They are going to go to Colorado twice eventually.

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