Kukla's Korner Hockey
While we are currently deep into the NHL off-season, I thought it would be nice to step away from the Wild for a bit and focus on other aspects of hockey life in Minnesota.
One of the perks of living in a state covered by ice five months out of the year is that kids get ample opportunities to get out and play some puck. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood revolve around the outdoor rinks in my hometown - finishing dinner, grabbing my skates, and going out to play a pick-up game with my family until either the rink attendant called us into the warming house at closing time, or my older brother threw me over the boards into a giant snowbank. Given the amount of people we encountered on those subzero nights, its entirely likely that rinks all over the state were just as busy.
So its really no surprise that youth hockey is as important in our state as opening night of the NHL season.
Ask any Minnesota Wild fan what has been the most impressive highlight of Chuck Fletcher’s reign as GM, and the answer you get back will most likely revolve around the influx of new talent in our farm system. Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, and Jonas Brodin highlight a recent draft haul that now includes newly acquired (via trade) Charlie Coyle - all of whom give hope and optimism for the near future of our team.
With good reason too. When Fletcher arrived in our state in 2009, the cupboard was essentially bare. Former general manager Doug Risebrough had attempted to placate a demanding fan base by going into “win now” mode, even though history proves that very few NHL expansion franchises have immediate success. Sure, the unexpected run to the 2003 Western Conference Finals had St. Paul buzzing - but poor roster structure and a short-term vision would cause the Wild to be stuck in the mud for several years.
Meet our new Minnesota Wild blogger, Joe Hanstad.
Anytime I need to introduce myself, I wish I could have an entrance much like a professional wrestler - theme music, fireworks, and a ramp I can run down while looking strangely like the Ultimate Warrior. Minus the facepaint.
... scratch that, the facepaint is cool.
Anyways, my name is Joe Hanstad, and I’m very happy you’re here on Kukla’s Korner, checking out the wonderful news, views, and rumors we have to offer. I’m thrilled to be a part of this wonderful slate of new bloggers that are exclusive to KK, and I can only pray I don’t become the weak link in this fantastic group of writers.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org