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Opinion

Despite recent struggles, Minnesota Wild receive continual support

February 17, 2012

I am not an avid sports fan by any means. Football, baseball, and basketball are just not appealing to me. I know how each sport works so I can follow along, but I have so many other interests that I can never stay still long enough to watch any games. However, I am a die-hard Minnesota Wild fan.

The Wild is the professional hockey league based in St. Paul. The team had its inaugural season in 2001 and has been a hit ever since. I am lucky enough to have the privilege to go to many home games, so I have grown up with the Wild for the last 11 years. Last Saturday was the latest game I attended, and even hough nothing will shake my love for Koivu and company, the team’s loss hit a nerve that I need to address.

The Wild haven’t been doing too hot this season. Sure, they were the No. 1 team in the league back in December, but that lead has been lost due to a horrific bout of losing. In fact, the Wild are now solidly in fourth place out of five in the Central Division of the Western Conference. And it appears to be that they will stay there. At the game on Saturday, where they played against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Wild had an early lead when Devin Setoguchi, a young right wing with a snappy slap shot, flipped the puck in. However, with one minute left in the first period, the Blue Jackets got a goal by a puck that trickled into the net.

After that disappointing goal, the Wild lost their focus for a while and the game was all over the place for much of the second period. Also, center Darroll Powe couldn’t stay out of the penalty box, so the team had to kill penalties instead of focusing on scoring goals. After the Blue Jackets scored again and a goal for the Wild was reviewed and declared no goal, it was all over. The Wild played the whole third period with all their might but ultimately, that will to win wasn’t enough.

After pulling their goalie in the last minute of play, a Blue Jacket player lobbed the puck from the opposite end and scored with 30 seconds to go, ending the battle for the game.

I am determined to not be a fair-weather fan, so the disappointing season may be a setback, but certainly not the end of the my love for the team. My adoration for the Wild extends way past just the roster.

The Excel Energy Center, home to Wild games, is a terrific venue for any event.

Also, I have been sitting in the same seats since the end of the NHL lockout in 2005, and the usher who faithfully guards section 104 has stayed the same since. Her name is Laura, and she is a dear friend. She has seen me grow up from being an awkward teenager to the college student I am today. She has met my entire family, including my grandma, who goes to one game a year and looks forward to seeing Laura each time.

However, the Wild team itself holds a special place in my heart. My first favorite was Derek Boogaard, who tragically passed away from an accidental overdose last spring. He was the enforcer, a euphemism for the guy who beats up players on the other team.

Brent Burns, now playing for the San Jose Sharks, and Mikko Koivu, the Wild team captain, have also always been favorites. I was devastated when the Sharks picked Burns up last summer. He had been on the team since he was 18, and Minnesota Wild fans have watched him mature, get married, and have a daughter.

Koivu is a hotheaded Finn who has led the team for a couple seasons as captain. He is a solid center who is truly a team player. My dad always says that if Koivu fights for the puck, he will come out of it with the puck.

And it’s true. Just as I believe that the Wild will come out of this year’s slump and triumph in seasons to come. What can I say? I’m just another Minnesota sports fan.

Amanda White is a junior majoring in journalism. She appreciates good books, good style, and good conversation.

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