April 6, 2015
I arrived in Minneapolis early today, so I had a few hours of leisure time before the game. In making my way around the Nicollet Mall area, I happened upon a statue of Mary Tyler Moore on the boulevard. I also happened upon a neat little French bistro (go figure – in Minneapolis) which made a “croque monsieur” which would rival anything you would find in France. (Sorry – I only have a photo of the bistro, not the sandwich.)
In making my way to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul later on, I learned that taking the Metro was free if you were going to the hockey game. (At least that’s what the guy told me for a fee of $5.00! Hmmm?)
The Xcel Center is a gorgeous facility, definitely top 10 in the league for arenas, and maybe better than that. Take a look.
It was clear that I was in hockey town/state, and with playoff positions on the line (for the Wild, and the visiting Jets), the energy level was like that of a playoff game. I would rank the Wild fans as one of the louder arenas, this despite the fact that I was unable to hear the fans cheer a goal from the home team.
In making my usual arena observations, I noticed that the goal judges (who no longer sit behind the net), are perched up high on both sides of the rink at the Xcel Center. Definitely a great viewpoint!
I was selected for a second intermission fan contest called “High Low,” and I think the contest was rigged. (In a good way, because despite wanting to answer the final question incorrectly, I was “guided” toward the correct answer.) And I won a prize pack which included a whole bunch of Minnesota Wild goodies. I was also interviewed about my trip, and I have to give the Wild announcer great credit for promoting the cause (Make-A-Wish).
Tonight’s game was the last home game of the season for the Wild, and it was announced that the team set a season record for attendance. Well done Wild fans! In my 25 days of traveling, I would rank the Wild fans as top 5 in three categories: friendly, knowledgeable, and loud! (And loud in a good way!)