The Minnesota Wild is in the midst of a heated Western Conference semifinal match-up versus the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2014 NHL playoffs, a team that has had a fair share of success in the National Hockey League. And although the Wild have only been competing in the league since the year 2000, the fans in the state of hockey have fully embraced the squad since they started skating in St. Paul.
Minnesota has been dubbed The State of Hockey, among other unofficial nicknames, and there is no question that people around those parts get excited about the sport of hockey. Here are some fun facts about the Minnesota Wild hockey club to get you excited during playoff time.
Marion Gaborik with the goal
In October of 2000, Marion Gaborik, then playing for the club that selected him with the third overall pick in the 2000 entry draft, scored the first goal for the Minnesota Wild in a match versus the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Even though the boys lost to Anaheim, it was a remarkable and historical day for fans in Minnesota.
Since the Wild began playing in 2000, they have won a total of three playoff series. Two of them came in the 2003 playoffs, when they beat the Colorado Avalanche in the first-round, and then the Vancouver Canucks in the round to follow; these victories were extra special, as the Wild trailed three games to one in both of the series, before coming back and winning four games to three in each.
The other playoff series victory came in the 2014 playoffs versus the Colorado Avalanche, and that number is still counting.
The team could have been called the Blue Ox
When Minnesota won the rights to have a team in the NHL in 1997, a team name had to be selected. The Wild were eventually picked from a lot that also included finalists like Freeze, Blue Ox, Northern Lights, White Bears, and Voyageurs. Could you imagine the Minnesota White Bears taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins? Nor can I.
Jacques Lemaire was the first coach of the Minnesota Wild, and even though he wasn’t able to bring the Stanley Cup home to Minnesota, he still had some success as coach of the team. His stay reached its height when the Wild reached the Western Conference Finals in 2003, losing to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and hot goalkeeper, Jean-Sébastien Giguère.