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Besides our Bold North temperatures, Minnesota is known for two things:
- 10,000 Lakes
- We are the State of Hockey
Interestingly both of these proud acknowledgments are intertwined in many ways. Many generations of hockey players are drawn to the sport from skating on frozen ponds and lakes as kids. I myself was included in that activity, as I spent hours ice skating back and forth on the frozen pond in my parents’ backyard.
So I thought it was brilliant when the Minnesota Wild encouraged its fans to collect their memories in the form of water from their favorite lakes and make it part of the team’s home ice at the Xcel Energy Center, joining in the #OurIce tradition.
Wild President, Matt Majka, explained what our lakes represent to us and why “This Is Our Ice” has a strong connection to Minnesotans:
“Every winter, when our ponds and lakes freeze over, a rebirth happens as we embrace the frozen beauty of our state. Lake bays become our hockey home, and everywhere you turn, kids young and old play pick-up hockey. That’s what This Is Our Ice is all about — inviting fans throughout the State of Hockey to bring a piece of their hometown hockey heritage to our arena.”
I was recently asked to participate in #OurIce tradition and I was thrilled; not only did I grow up skating on frozen lakes, but I also have enjoyed fishing on our lakes with some Minnesota Wild players, many of whom are avid anglers. I decided to contribute water from Mille Lacs Lake to contribute to the Xcel Energy Center, the Minnesota Wild’s home ice. I chose this lake in particular because I have fond hockey AND fishing memories attached to it.
There are teams compiled of current Wild Players, former Wild Players, current and former other NHL players and coaches. Last year I was paired with Matt Hendricks, and we were co-captains of the Wild Players team. I was excited about this as I heard Matt was an avid angler so I knew we were in for a fun day.
The morning started early and as we were leaving the dock, Matt decided to ask if I was up for placing a small wager on who could catch the biggest fish of the day. At first I thought, “Well, isn’t he confident in his fishing skills!” Lol I took that bet and raised the ante by suggesting we wager not only who can catch the biggest bass but also the first and the most. So now we officially had three chances to win some cash and the day was off to a competitive start. Not long into our first stop I had a bass on my line and boy was I excited, as I knew Matt couldn’t take this “point” away from me. Luckily, I landed that fish and won the first bet with the first bass caught.
As the day went on, we all had a fantastic time with many fish on the end of our lines, as our fishing guide Ryan Johnson knew all the hot spots. And for some reason, I like to think it’s skill but on this day I think it was more luck — my fishing rod was also hot. As I was reeling in some big bass it was becoming apparent that I was going to take ALL of Matt’s money by the end of the day. We had a good laugh and, in fact, I tried to tell him I didn’t want his cash but he definitely wasn’t going to take that for an answer. In the end, I had a few more dollars in my pocket, yet more importantly I was many fond memories and bragging rights richer.
The spirit of our lakes and our ice makes many of us richer by providing us with so many experiences, memories, laughs, and bonding moments. A bond is what brings us and connects us together like a team. In essence, our lakes are a part of our team.
Back in February, I collected Mille Lacs Lake water during an ice fishing tournament benefitting the United Heroes League which partners with the MN Wild. Once again, our lakes providing us ways to help hockey grow and keep kids active in the outdoors weather its playing hockey or fishing.
Back in February, I collected Mille Lacs Lake water during an ice fishing tournament benefitting United Heroes League which is also a partner of the Wild. Once again, our lakes are providing us ways to create a greater State of Hockey and keep kids active in the outdoors whether it’s playing hockey or fishing.
On Tuesday, April 2nd, I will attend the Wild game to contribute my 3 oz. of Mille Lacs water onto the Xcel Energy Center ice sheet and continue the #OurIce tradition.
I hope the spirit of the lake and “winning” memories will help bring a win to the Wild that day. See you there!
P.S. You too can contribute your water at every home game of the season! Can’t make it to a game? Send them your water. Learn more at wild.com/OurIce.
This is a paid sponsored post by the Minnesota Wild. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.