As previously seen by the ESPN Ultimate Standings, the Wild have one of the top game day experiences in all of professional sports. However, there are always ways to improve. Thanks to the folks at Samsung for sponsoring this series entitled "Enhance Your Experience"
We all know how much the Wild appreciate their fans, and strive to always provide the latest and greatest in fan interaction and experience. In honor of the ten year anniversary of the Minnesota Wild, we at Hockey Wilderness did some digging and found the Top Ten ideas for enhancing the fan experience that were rejected by the Wild.
1.The Greg Zanon Blocked Shot Simulator - Stepping into a booth, you see a series of highlights playing on a large HD screen. As the opposing player skates ever closer to you, he winds up a massive slapshot, and suddenly, BAM! You scream in pain as a puck shaped probe hits you with the full simulated force of a Kurtis Foster slapper. As the video continues, random "pucks" continue to hit you teaching you the lesson that no matter who you are, you have to sacrifice the body.
2. The "Locker Room" Experience - In an effort to bring the game ever closer to the fans, an idea was pitched to provide the fans with the sights, sounds and yes, smells experienced in an NHL locker room. However, this idea was scrapped after it all backfired when the smell of wet gear was pumped through the HVAC system and a cost / benefit analysis showed that it would be too expensive with the increased number of janitorial staff needed to clean up the volume of vomit produced.
3. Free 3D glasses at the game - Wanting to ride the wave of recent 3D movies and the new 3D Televisions, the Wild, along with the NHL, wanted to ensure that fans at the game could experience the same excitement of watching hockey in three dimensions. Then they realized the obvious oversight.
4. Political Campaign Ad Night - Originally scheduled for a home game in December, the Wild planned to run political ads from the recent election season on the jumbotron, rather than showing a streaming feed of the game. The thinking was that after finally being rid of these horrible ads, and then having them thrust back upon them, people would get riled up and make more noise than normal.
5. Dinner with Todd Richards, Chuck Fletcher, Martin Havlat, and Allan Walsh Giveaway - This event was to be billed as a 360 degree round table discussion, fostering communication between fan, coach, executive, player, and agent. However, after recent events, it is now simply being billed as "a night of awkward awkwardness with a side of awkward."
6. "Shirts off Your Backs" Night - In contrast to the evening's events during fan appreciation nights to close the season in which the Wild players give the fans their game worn jerseys, this event was to allow the players into the stands to physically rip the shirts they like off of select fans. Let's be honest, it was in poor taste.
7. Random drawings for kids to learn hockey skills from Mikko Koivu - During a test run, six kids battled Koivu for a puck in the corner. While teaching them, his competitive fire kicked in, he knocked them all down in one epic flash of Finnish strength and rage, skated to the middle of the hash marks and slammed the puck into an open net. Later, when one of the kids missed the net on a sweet feed from Mikko, the child passed out after being stared down by Koivu.
8. "Be the Backstop" - In the event that the Wild reach the five minute over time period, one randomly pre-selected fan would be whisked to the bowels of the X, suited up, and prepped for their chance to backstop the Wild in the pending shootout. Asked for comment on why they would put in a randomly selected fan who may or may not even know how to skate, rather than rely on Niklas Backstrom, Todd Richards shrugged ans said, "Eh, it can't get much worse, can it?" The NHL nixed this idea, due to safety concerns.
9. He Who Shall Remain Nameless bobblehead night - After having produced all 5,000 bobbleheads, the Wild had second thoughts about sending them home with fans. Fear that the bobbleheads would empty the fans' cupboards while allowing their favorite pets and most valuable possessions to walk away with no return eventually ended this promotion, and the bobbleheads were sent to Africa. Upon receipt of the bobbleheads, they were immediately dumped in the nearest river.
10. "Shooting for a Suspension" - If there is a pending supplemental discipline hearing, four fans will be selected shoot two pucks each onto a giant "Wheel of Justice" at center ice. An average will be taken for the final number of games, which will be forwarded to NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell to be the number of games for which ever player is in question. If it is Sean Avery, the number automatically doubles. As a reward for participating, all four fans were to get dinner with Gary Bettman. This promotion was also ended by the NHL, citing "Conduct detrimental to the league." The intern in charge of the propmotion was uspended by the league for 257 games.
If you have suggestions on ways to enhance your experience, add them in the comments below. Who knows, it might be featured in future articles.