Found January 22, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- Matt Cullen was remembering some of his most cherished hockey memories on Sunday, recalling the days when he played outdoors with friends. For the 35-year old center for the Minnesota Wild, those days can often seem like distant memories. Cullen and the Wild had the chance to relive their past glory days with an outdoor practice on Sunday. "Most of my great hockey memories are on the backyard rink as a kid anyway," Cullen said. "We had so much fun playing. We had a silver bucket. We played for the silver bucket. That was the Stanley Cup for us. It was great. We had so much fun out there." There wasn't a silver bucket or cup to play for on Sunday but Minnesota was back outside, holding a short practice open to the public at the Guidant John Rose MN Oval in Roseville. Hundreds of fans attended the second outdoor practice in Wild history. The team also had a similar event last season in Roseville and Minnesota unveiled its first official home sweater at the location in 1999 after it was awarded an expansion franchise. Following Hockey Day in Minnesota on Saturday -- which included a 5-2 Wild win at home against the Dallas Stars -- Sunday's practice was the culmination of a weekend which celebrated the sport in Minnesota. Even for professional players, including those from Minnesota like Cullen and rookies Chad Rau and Nate Prosser, playing outdoors again was a special moment. "It was awesome," said Prosser, who was recalled from the minor-league Houston Aeros on Friday. "This was perfect. I wish we could do this every day. It's fun getting out here and seeing all these little kids out here. When I was growing up on the outdoor rinks is where we all started. It's just perfect." The Wild have held practices open to the public in the past, often doing so during training camp, but being outside offered a different atmosphere. There was a bit of rain and sleet and the temperatures hovered around the mid-20s, but it didn't keep the fans away. "You see all the kids and you are right there with them," Cullen said. "They are all fired up. I've got mine here. It's just kind of a cool day and a fun atmosphere." Cullen, a 14-year NHL veteran, grew up in Moorhead and was honored before Saturday's game for playing in 1,000 career NHL games. Sunday's practice was low-key and finished with a round of four-on-four shinny hockey. On what would have been a typical day off for the Wild, players and coaches wanted to honor the fans. Coach Mike Yeo, who had his own memories of playing outside, said he didn't have to persuade the players despite the usual off-day. "This is a thing that is much different than going to the rink and working D-zone coverage," Yeo said. "Today we came out and had a little bit of fun. These guys are men, but they're little boys when they get out on an ice surface like this." Yeo even put in his pitch for the Twin Cities to be considered for the Winter Classic, the NHL's annual outdoor game. "This is a place where people have grown up playing outdoors," Yeo said. "So I don't think you could find a market where people would appreciate an outdoor game as much as they would here." Perhaps proving Yeo's point about the tradition of hockey in Minnesota, Prosser remembered his earliest days about skating outside. "I just remember my first try at skating was on an outdoor rink, pushing a chair when I just started to walk," said Prosser, an Elk River native. "It brings back some good memories." Sunday's practice ended a whirlwind few hours for Eden Prairie native Chad Rau too. Rau was called up with Prosser from Houston on Friday and made his NHL debut Saturday night, scoring the game-winner for his first NHL goal. "It reminds me of my youth, skating out here with my buddies, strapping on the pads and playing," Rau said. "It's just been fun. It was a really exciting day." The Guidant John Rose MN OVAL is the largest outdoor refrigerated skating facility in North America, featuring a 110,000 square-foot slab of concrete use for ice sports.

Johnson to represent Wild at All-Star weekend

SAINT PAULMINNEAPOLIS, Minn. Minnesota Wild forward Nick Johnson will join the group of Rookies participating in the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Ottawa Jan. 28. Johnson has played in 44 games with the Wild this season, compiling 16 points (6-10=16), 31 penalty minutes (PIM) and a plus-four rating. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound native of Calgary, Alberta ranks...

Hockey Day 2013 awarded to Grand Rapids

The Minnesota Wild, along with FOX Sports North, have announced that the outdoor games for Hockey Day Minnesota 2013, presented by Wells Fargo, will be held at Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids. The exact date of Hockey Day Minnesota 2013 will be announced in the summer when the NHL schedule comes out.Hockey Day Minnesota 2013 will be the seventh annual celebration of hockey from peewees...

Wild continue to juggle roster

SATURDAY'S STORY LINE: Trying to shake things up on and energize the struggling team, the Wild made several roster moves Friday. Forwards Casey Wellman and David McIntyre were sent back to Houston. Forwards Jed Ortmeyer, Matt Kassian, Chad Rau and defenseman Nate Prosser were recalled. All four players will be in the lineup tonight. "We are going to try to do whatever...

Wild to hold outdoor practice Sunday

The Minnesota Wild have announced that the team will hold an outdoor practice, Sunday at noon, at the Guidant John Rose MN OVAL, located at 2661 Civic Center Drive in Roseville. The practice is free and open to the general public, weather permitting. The outdoor practice will cap the state's hockey-themed weekend. Following the Wild's workout, fans can participate in a free...

Rau returns home to spur Wild win over Dallas

ST. PAUL, Minn. As he addressed the media minutes after his NHL debut, Minnesota Wild center Chad Rau received a gift from teammate Cal Clutterbuck. The veteran forward weaved through a group of reporters to give Rau a shaving cream pie in the face.The rookie Rau sat stunned, looking around for something to wipe his face with."I can finish it like this," said Rau, unable...

'Jabs' honored in many ways on Hockey Day

This year's Hockey Day Minnesota took on a whole new meaning, as the day-long event was dedicated to a local high school hockey player paralyzed on Dec. 30. Jack Jablonski, a sophomore at Benilde-St. Margaret's, was checked from behind during a Red Knights junior varsity game late last month. His spinal cord was severed during the play and he lost all feeling below his neck...

Hockey Day in Minnesota 2012 is a huge success for Wild, Gophers, Thunderhawks, Skippers and ...

Knowing I wasn't going to be able to sit down and watch it all did grind on my emotions a bit.  As a hockey fan who loves the game at all levels, it really doesn't get much better than Hockey Day in Minnesota which really celebrates the games from its grassroots to the pros.  So to miss this annual celebration that has quickly become a tradition really makes me feel as...

Carson McMillan ends the Wild's 11-game road losing streak with huge 3-2 road win over Colorado

There is an old adage is that when at a neighbor's house you avoid talking about two things, religion and politics which really is a recognition just how divisive and potentially heated those subjects can be even in a simple conversation.  Consider the major political event of this event of this evening, the President of the United States' annual State of the Union address...

Johnson gets call for All-Star skills event

The Wild had skated for about an hour Monday and was about to leave the ice. But coach Mike Yeo gathered the team in a circle and told it that rookie winger Nick Johnson is going to Ottawa to take part in All-Star weekend.

Wild-Avalanche Preview

If there's a regulation winner Tuesday night between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild, that team will go into the All-Star break holding one of the Western Conference's playoff spots. The Wild will be trying to avoid a franchise-record 12th straight road loss when they take on the Northwest Division rival Avalanche. Colorado (26-22-2) has 54 points to hold...

StarGazing - January 21st vs. Minnesota Wild

SATURDAY’S GAME: Dallas Stars (24-19-2, 50 points – 3rd, Pacific Division) at Minnesota Wild (22-18-7, 51 points – 3rd, Northwest Division) ...

Wild score 3 in 59-seconds span, beat Stars 5-2

Cal Clutterbuck, Chad Rau and Kyle Brodziak scored goals during a 59-second span of the second period, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Saturday night.

Post-Game Notes vs. Dallas - Jan. 21

LW Dany Heatley (1-2=3) recorded his first three-point game of the season, and Eden Prairie native C Chad Rau scored a goal in his NHL debut in the middle of a three-goal, 59-second explosion, as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Dallas Stars 5-2 in...

Three goals in :59 carry struggling Wild by Stars

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Cal Clutterbuck, Chad Rau and Kyle Brodziak scored goals during a 59-second span of the second period, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Saturday night.
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