Minnesota hockey team plays at home arena

Wild game is one of a kind experience

A+Minnesota+Wild+player+signs+a+fan%27s+hockey+stick+Feb.+11%2C+2018+at+the+ROC.+The+Wild+will+be+back+at+the+ROC+to+practice+on+Jan.+2%2C+2020.

Echo File Photo

A Minnesota Wild player signs a fan's hockey stick Feb. 11, 2018 at the ROC. The Wild will be back at the ROC to practice on Jan. 2, 2020.

By Tennam Gyaldatsang, St. Louis Park High School

According to public relations director of the Minnesota Wild Aaron Sickman, the Wilds have been holding outdoor practices in St. Louis Park for the last couple of years.

“This is the third year in a row that we have done this outdoor practice at the ROC,” Sickman said.

Freshman Eli Puchner said it is very impressive that the Wild will be practicing in St. Louis Park out of anywhere in the metro.

“It’s pretty special because we have a nice rink outside,” Puchner said. “It’s cool because they could have gone anywhere, but they decided to come to St. Louis Park.”

Sickman said the ROC is a vital component to these outdoor practices. Many other venues were available but the ROC was the best fit.

“We have held a couple of practices at other places, but there aren’t boards at places so it’s hard for the team to practice,” Sickman said. “When the ROC opened up, we saw it as a way to hold a practice there. It’s a great location for fans to watch and the stands are open.”

Puchner said he would recommend students to attend for a one of a kind experience.

“Students should go because it’s a rare opportunity, Puchner said. “They might not get another chance to go and that its really cool to go see them practice.”

Sickman said the practice is a great opportunity for fans to connect and interact with the players.

“In the past, players have signed autographs and handed out pucks after practice; especially for the kids, it’s an opportunity to meet their favorite players,” Sickman said. “It’s just a great way for students to see the best hockey players in the world in their backyard.”

According to freshman Phil Hirte, he recommends students arrive early and bring a pen for autographs.

“Get there early so you can get a good spot and bring a Sharpie, because you might get an autograph,” Hirte said.

Sickman said the practice will be before the Minnesota Wild’s next home game. He recommends students to come so that they can see the world’s best hockey players practice.

“The practice is going to be Jan. 2,” Sickman said. “It’s a great opportunity to watch the best hockey players in the world practice their sport and get ready for their next game Jan. 4.”

This story was originally published on The Echo on December 30, 2019.