Summertime in Minnesota means cabins, boating, hockey camp, and storms. Severe weather hits various regions of the state every summer. Minnesotan’s predict these storms with accuracy. Stand outside before the storm hits. Leave their windowless-rooms to check if the storm is over. And once it looks like the storm has passed, everyone goes outside to assess the damage.
Apparently, NHL free agency storms are handled in a similar fashion in the State of Hockey.
The storm watch for Parise began a long time ago. Like a Farmer’s Almanac of predictions, people speculated that he would consider his home state of Minnesota as his next (and final?) NHL team.
Though it looked as though Zach Parise (of Prior Lake, MN) could choose to stay in New Jersey, move to Pittsburgh, Detroit, or even Chicago, the Wild continued to chase the storm. For weeks, every other tweet on Twitter seemed to mention Parise – his decisions, non-decisions, comments, travel itinerary, and 4th of July plans to relax on his pontoon.
At first, the likelihood of landing Parise was a dream that Minnesotan’s dared not dwell on, fearing disappointment. But Wild owner, Craig Leipold said he wanted the big guns, the UFA’s worth every American dollar, and this time he put his money where his mouth is and dished it out for the former New Jersey Devils’ Captain, 27-year-old Zach Parise. His prep career at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and college days at the University of North Dakota (the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ arch nemesis) set him up for success in the NHL and world stage (member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team – video below). And while many believed that he would choose a team based on his Shattuck-St. Mary’s ties to Crosby (and some may argue, Toews), Zach Parise decided to return home to the State that raised him. His ties to Minnesota were stronger than some probably realized.
Besides his Minnesotan agent, Neil Sheehy, and power skating coach, Diane Ness, Parise had many other reasons, aside from dollar figures (although $98 million isn’t bad), to return home.
He grew up here. He’s getting married here (this month!). He wants to raise his kids here. He has a house here (Orono, MN). He likes his pontoon here.
The Zach Parise storm watch is over. Now, Minnesotan’s are assessing the damage to the Wild’s pocket-book. Relieved that Leipold let it breathe, but wondering how much is too much? And hoping the skilled scorer will put up big numbers for a struggling Minnesota Wild franchise; that he’s worth all the hype.
Like multiple cells moving across the region, Minnesotan’s kept one eye on Parise and another on former Nashville Predator, Ryan Suter. The 27-year-old defenseman with playoff experience and ties to Zach Parise (both on the 2010 U.S. Olympic team), left Minnesotan’s speechless when he, too signed a 13-year/$98 million deal with the Minnesota Wild; mere seconds before Twitter erupted with news that Zach Parise had also signed.
Clearly, the Wild were in need of two high caliber players, a fact that Craig Leipold admitted in a “Dear John” letter to Minnesota Wild fans who are welcoming Parise and Suter with open arms and heartfelt Tweets (officially hashtagging the ordeal – #WelcomeZachAndRyan).
As with major storms, news of Parise and Suter is making headlines and Trending on Twitter. Keeping up with all the developments is a full-time job. For now, Minnesotan’s can enjoy this hot July 4th out on their boats, waving at every passer-by. Who knows, you may be waving at Zach Parise on his pontoon. And you can bet that Ryan Suter will be in the market for Minnesota summer toys, too.
Megan is a native Minnesotan who loves The State of Hockey, the month of March in Minnesota, and Tator Tot Hotdish. She is the volunteer camp director at a girls’ hockey camp every summer and writes about all-things Minnesota, especially hockey, on her blog http://mnmeditations.wordpress.com. A newbie at The Hockey Writers, she is honored to be covering Minnesota Wild hockey.