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Wild Welcome “Breezer” As Team Pup

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Barclay brought the St. Louis Blues a cup. Can Breezer do the same? Where does Breezer rank in the pantheon of puck pooches?

via Minnesota Wild’s official team page

2018 was the year of the dog, both in the Chinese calendar, and in NHL public relations. Six NHL teams adopted puppies last season, following the Winnipeg Jets’ lead, who assigned three black lab puppies to their security team in 2017. But where most of these doggy draft selections might have been happy-go-lucky stories assigned to the “before we leave you tonight” portion of local television newscasts, the St. Louis Blues’ Labrador retriever Barclay took things to a whole new level.

He was a viral sensation with his appearance at a Blues practice:

He was forwarded on for Doc Emrick, where the two mixed it up in the corner (my goodness!):

And he led the successful charge into the battle for the ultimate dog dish, the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

And since hockey seems to be one of the most superstitious sports around, the Minnesota Wild looked to get a leg up (or four) on their competition for the 2019-20 season.

Enter, “Breezer.”

The scouting report on Breezer (great name, by the way), is that he is a 12-week-old Labrador Retriever, which, on average, weigh about 15-20 pounds at his current age, but is likely to fill out his frame during his time in training camp. Most scouts (including dogs named “Scout”) see him eventually as an elite-level service animal, as at the end of his stint with the Wild, Breezer will be matched up with a “Battle Buddy,” a military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Minnesota Wild (wild.com)

Fans who want to meet the newest Wild acquisition can shake... shaaake... erm, shake paws with Breezer at the Minnesota State Fair on August 26th from 2-3 p.m., August 28th from 10-11 a.m., and August 30th from 10-11 a.m. at the Wild Booth (dates and times subject to change, and puppy naps). If you miss him there, the Wild announced that Breezer will be making appearances at most Wild home games, and you can keep up on all his activities by following “mnwildpup” on Instagram and Twitter.

During the run-up to training camp, we at Hockey Wilderness have been sizing up the competition, figuring out where the Wild rank against their competitors. So, in terms of puppy prowess, where does Breezer rank against the other hockey hounds?

Barclay

Team: St. Louis Blues

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Year signed: 2018

Name origin: Barclay Plager, former Blues captain

Professional Projection: Assistance Dog through Duo

Stanley Cups directly responsible for: 1

Ranger

Team: New York Rangers

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Year signed: 2018

Name origin: Team name

Professional Projection: Autism Service Dog

Flambo

Team: Montreal Canadians

Breed: Labernese

Year signed: 2018

Name origin: A burning torch (flambeau), symbol of team history

Professional projection: Service dog through Mira

Rookie

Team: Ottawa Senators

Breed: Black Labrador

Year signed: 2018

Name origin: Fan vote

Professional Projection: Seeing-eye dog for Canadian National Institute for the Blind

Radar

Team: New York Islanders

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Year signed: 2018

Name origin: Named after Isles coach Al “Radar” Arbour

Professional Projection: Seeing-eye dog through the Guide Dog Foundation

Nigel

Team: Washington Capitals

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Year signed: 2018

Name origin: Named by owner

Professional projection: Service dog

Lenny

Team: Winnipeg Jets

Breed: Black Labrador

Year signed: 2017

Name origin: Fan vote, named after superfan Lenny Kropiosk, who died in 2016

Linemates: Dante, Daisy, Grace, Ryp

Professional projection: Bomb-sniffing/security team for the Jets

Mike Moodano

Team: Dallas Stars

Breed: Unknown, perhaps Australian Cattle mix?

Date signed: April 1, 2019

Name origin: Unclear, but probably stolen from Minnesota

Professional Projection: General Manager of the Minnesota Wild