Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild unveiled their new jerseys with live modeling from Stephane Veilleux and new Wild member Nino Niederreiter (who will be wearing number 22 for the Wild by the way). This was Niederreiter's first official outing as a Minnesota Wild player, and he was obviously impressed with the passion behind the fanbase.
"It’s awesome to see so many people out here to see the new jersey. I've never seen something like this before.It's almost twelve o'clock in early September and there's such a group of people here to see a new jersey and get to know a couple players"
After the unveiling, both players spent some time talking to the media and answering a few questions before meeting some fans and signing autographs.
Niederreiter is excited for training camp to start so he can meet the rest of his teammates, and get his relationship playing for the organizations started.He also talked about the fact that he spent time in Finland this summer training with everyone’s favorite Kaptain, Mikko Koivu.
Interestingly enough, Niederreiter spent part of his off-season attending a power skating camp. Wild fans are well aware how much the organization values power skating skills, so it speaks volumes that Niederreiter took the time to attend a camp across the globe from where he was training, on his own time.
I asked him what his goals for this season were, and he responded with "Obviously the main goal is to make the NHL team. I'm very excited to be with this organization."
Veilleux discussed his thoughts on how the team will preform this upcoming season and said "I'm really positive that we are going to have a great year, and the expectations are there. All the players are ready and we all know what we're capable of doing."
He has already been battling since his return to Minnesota a few weeks ago. Fans may have noticed that he had a rather large mark on the bottom of his face yesterday; he took his first puck to the face to the season last week.
Veilleux also talked about his recent table tennis success. The NHLPA held a charity ping-pong tournament at the end of June to raise money for concussion research and research into rare cancers. He not only helped raise over $100K in donations, he managed to win the doubles AND the singles portion of the tournament.
When asked about how he manages to be such a great ping pong player, Veilleux showed his passion isn't just in making fun of opposing players. He played competitive tennis growing up, and has had an easy time translating his skills to ping-pong.
So the moral here folks, is that if you haven't been playing tennis since the age of 5, you aren't going to be able to beat Stephane Veilleux in table tennis.