Things aren’t exactly going well for the Minnesota Wild lately, but almost everyone is already aware of that.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Wild has gone 3-11-4, unable to find a way to get out of a month-and-a-half-long slump. Now that’s not really something most Minnesotans are too thrilled with, but there’s still one thing to look forward to: the Stadium Series.
Here are five reasons to get excited about this upcoming hockey weekend, regardless of whether the Wild win or lose:
1. It’s an Outdoor Game
This one might seem self-explanatory, but Minnesota has lobbied for an outdoor game for some time now. Outdoor hockey is a Minnesota tradition – it only makes sense for the Wild to host a game on the biggest stage.
The Stadium Series isn’t exactly the Winter Classic that Wild owner Craig Leipold wanted, but it’s better than nothing, and definitely something for Minnesota fans to be excited about. Even if the Wild haven’t been playing well, it’ll still be an unforgettable game.
2. It’s Something New
Minnesota has never hosted an outdoor game before, or even been involved in one, for that matter.
It’s possible that this team just needs something new and different, like an outdoor game, to get them out of their rut. Although an outdoor game isn’t a dramatic change like switching head coaches, it still something. Playing in front of thousands of fans at TCF Bank Stadium in the first outdoor game in Minnesota Wild history could just maybe be enough to motivate this team to turn it around.
3. It’s a Chance to Turn Things Around
Continuing with that theme, this game is the perfect time to turn the season around. The Wild has lost 12 of its past 13 games, and fans seem to be losing hope.
But maybe that’s exactly what this team needs. Nobody expects anything from them, and that gives the Wild an opportunity to just enjoy the outdoor game. Minnesota is clearly the underdog, and I’m pretty confident there aren’t too many people that expect them to win. But with all the pressure off, this team has the ability to play a little less seriously and maybe find a way to win because of that.
As Mike Yeo recently said, sometimes the best solution is just to stop looking for one and let it all play out. There’s no better time to do that then the Stadium Series.
“And maybe the solution is to stop trying to find a solution. Maybe it’s to leave it alone and just kind of put it in their hands, and let’s just go work it out,” Mike Yeo via StarTribune
Sunday needs to be the day this team forgets about the slump and just plays hockey.
4. It’s in Minnesota
Imagine if this game was taking place in Chicago. Then Minnesotans wouldn’t even have the chance to take part in this unique experience. Who knows when the Wild will get another outdoor game. At least Minnesota has this opportunity now, and fans can finally take part in something they’ve all been waiting for.
Whether the Wild win or lose, this game is still a chance for Wild fans to cheer on their team with thousands of other hockey fans, outdoors, in an experience that’s bound to be unforgettable.
5. It’s Against the Blackhawks
This might not seem like anything to get excited about, but imagine what could happen if the Wild somehow manage to pull off a win against Chicago.
This team needs something to get them going. Beating the Blackhawks, a team they always seem to struggle against, would definitely give this team and its fans something to feel good about. Of course there’s no guarantee the Wild will win, but this is hockey; anything can happen.
The Minnesota Wild might not be so hot right now, but that doesn’t mean this hockey-filled weekend won’t be an incredible experience for the State of Hockey.
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23