(Warning: I have a LOT to say!)
Hey Wild fans! I'm new to the hockey wilderness community (dunno why it took me this long to know about this site), but I'm not new to the Wild. You can call me JS..
Let me explain the title: I'm 21, I've been a devoted Wild fan for about 6 years, I'm an officer for the unofficial Minnesota Wild fan page on facebook. I'm a french-canadian hailing from New-Brunswick, Canada, which is pretty far from Minnesota, where it's pretty much only dumb bandwagon fans of the Pens and Caps, and fans of the Habs (I hate the Habs with a fiery passion, and they happen to be the team 95% of the people I know root for) and Leafs. Because of this, I am often asked why I root for an american team. This immediately prompts me to say that I'm not the kind of guy who's gonna root for a team because they happen to be located in the same country as I am. I'm not gonna like Sidney Crosby (EWWW) because he's Canadian. It also prompted me to do a little research, here it goes:
Minnesota Wild: 21 Canadian players on the current roster (as of March 26th 2010)
Here's the stats for the so-called ''Canadian teams'':
Edmonton Oilers: 22 Canadian players
Montreal Canadiens: 12 Canadian players
Toronto Maple Leafs: 13 Canadian players
Calgary Flames: 15 Canadian players
Vancouver Canucks: 16 Canadian players
Ottawa Senators: 16 Canadian players
So as you can see, only the oil has more Canadians in the roster, and I'm certainly not gonna start rooting for them because of it. To all the Habs fans who ask me why I don't root for a Canadian team, I answer ''Why don't you?'' They actually have the least Canadian team out of all the canadian teams! In fact, the Habs actually have more Americans on their roster than we do! (4-3 ) They're gonna need a name change...
And besides, What would happen if the Habs moved to Las Vegas or something? Are they gonna stop rooting for them because they would become an American team?...
And furthermore, It's not because the Wild have a lot of Canadian players that I'm rooting for them!
So why do I have this passion for the Wild of all teams?
Well it started out pretty simple: While playing NHL04 on my gamecube, I came across the Wild, and players like Walz, Gaborik, Bouchard drew me in. (I know, kinda dumb, but keep reading!) But as I started catching a couple of their games and videos on the internet, and as my knowledge of hockey grew, I realized that there's much more to this team than meets the eye. There's no place like Minnesota when it comes to hockey! The fans are great, loyal to their team (over 400 sellouts and counting..) Minnesotans know their hockey, Hockey is life in Minnesota. Plus, I've always loved how the Wild play with HEART. They never give up! I've pretty much never seen a guy play with a broken ankle! Broken toes sure, but a broken ankle? How about Harding who gives everything he has when he's obviously badly hurt just so he can protect Backs, who's also hurt, from hurting himself even more... And Ebbett, playing a shift, throwing up, playing another shift, vomiting... All this while they had a very dim hope of making the playoffs! They have this never say die spirit that has become progressively rarer in hockey today with all the bloated paychecks and the whiny ''superstars'' who give 100% about 75% of the time. Not the Wild though, and I'm not saying this because I love them, I love them because of it. I might not know every single thing about the Wild yet, but I'm always reading Wild stories from the present and past, analysing stats and games, I practically STUDY hockey in general, but mostly the Wild. I pretty much NEVER shut up about the Wild. I talk about the Wild to my girlfriend (who's starting to get pretty tired of my yapping!), my friends, my family, heck even people I only talk to from time to time! It's usually the first thing that comes out of my mouth: Wild anecdotes! I go crazy after every goal they score, every game they win, I follow them religiously: When I can't watch them on the internet, I listen on the radio, when I can't listen on the radio, I check out the game summary every few minutes, and when I have no idea what's going on, I think '' I wonder how the Wild are doing'' every 20 seconds. While I might never get to go to a Wild game (my best bet's in Montreal, but It's still a stretch), I still feel like I'm there, like I'm part of the Team of 18000. And I might've missed the unlikely 2003 playoff run, the first Wild goal, and many other important events, they're still very important to me, and I'm still proud of everything the Wild have achieved in their short time.
I consider every Wild fan to be a member of my hockey family, a lot of you don't know what it is to be the lone fan of your team within the province! While I may not be the biggest Wild fan, It's very likely that I'm the biggest one in New-Brunswick, or maybe even Canada!
So the Wild being based in America has nothing to do with my allegiance to canada, it has nothing to do with the canadian players playing in the system, It doesn't even really have to do with the players (Which isn't to say I don't LOVE our players, but I won't stop loving the Wild because Gabby left, or if Koivu leaves, God Forbid)
So I'm looking forward to starting a new chapter in my love story with the Wild: Being part of the Hockey Wilderness community, and I'm hoping you see me as a part of the Wild family as well, because I guarantee you'll see me a lot on here!
So why do I love the Wild? Simple: It's in my blood