Most fans are probably familiar with the name Dane Mizutani, who has taken over the Wild reporting beat for the Pioneer Press as Chad Graff has shifted into a new role. However, many may not be familiar with the experience Mizutani brings to the beat. Dane was kind enough to spend some time on the phone with Hockey Wilderness to introduce himself to the fanbase, and we’re happy to welcome him to his new assignment.
Dane was born into a media family in Hawaii, where is father is currently a television news anchor and previously spent time as a sports anchor. This made him gravitate toward both media and sports in his younger years, which have translated into a lifelong passion. He played football, basketball, and tennis growing up, but when he realized he wasn’t going to become a professional athlete he chose to pursue a career that would keep him close to competitive sports.
Though he was born in Hawaii, Dane moved to the Midwest when he was young and grew up in Illinois, where he wrote for his high school newspaper. Knowing he wanted to continue along that career path, one of the schools he was granted a free application to was the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. During a January campus visit, Dane discovered that the Twin Cities “felt like home.” Wedged between two major sports markets and having campus close to the city made it the ideal place for him to find an opportunity to continue his development.
Dane applied the the Minnesota Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Minnesota when he arrived as a freshmen. Though he wasn’t immediately accepted, he started his own blog and was able to land a position at the paper within a few months. He continued his work at the Daily throughout his stay at the University and earned the title of Sports Editor as a senior. Throughout his Minnesota Daily career, he covered a wide sweeping range of Division I sports, including Golden Gopher Hockey, where Dane began to develop his affinity for hockey. Though he had never played, he came to enjoy the pace and intensity of the game while discovering a group of players who were approachable and that he could cover in a more meaningful way than some of the other sports he had covered. Dane believes that hockey players are more apt to open up to members of the media, which makes them more compelling to write about.
Though he is fresh on the Wild beat, Dane brings a level of experience to the role that quite respectable for the amount of years he has been in the field. Beyond his experience with the Minnesota Daily, he has previous experience with the Woodbury Bulletin, Pioneer Press, South Washington County Bulletin, KFAN, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and 1500ESPN.com. He’s excited to connect the fans to the players and storylines that will follow the team this season and beyond. You can follow him on Twitter @DaneMizutani and find his work at TwinCities.com/sports/wild