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Kevin Fiala is as starstruck by Marc-André Fleury as we are

Kevin Fiala wanted to be a goalie because of a hero-turned-teammate.

Minnesota Wild v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I was an early nay-sayer about whether the Wild should go after Marc-Andre Fleury a week or so ago, when it was all mostly rumors and the price of a first round pick seemed steep. I have since made a complete 180 turn. This is in large part to what I think are Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin’s pretty fair conditions on the second-rounder, Cam Talbot’s recent upswing in play — if he stays strong, and Fleury finds his footing fast, they can be a lethal tandem — the newest netminder’s smile being literally impossible to resist, and ultimately, what fun it is to have someone of Fleury’s pedigree playing for my favorite team.

Once the abstract nature of the discussions wore off and we could just sit with the realization that MARC-ANDRÉ FLEURY plays for the Wild, I mean come on, it’s been nothing but good times and vibes since.

A significant part of that fun is that it’s special for his new teammates too.

Kevin Fiala, in fact, mentioned that when he was younger he wanted to be a goalie himself because he looked up to Fleury — later adding that he went down a different path because he was afraid of standing in the way of pucks.

“Just looking at him, he’s in our locker room — It’s just not realistic and it’s great to have him in our locker room,” Fiala said too after sharing this anecdote.

I mean, if you don’t admit to having wet eyes after a story like that you’re a dirty liar. It just feels really special to me to share this sort of awe with the players, to be reminded they too were once and are still young people with dreams and fandom and hearts in their eyes at the people they wanted to be someday. Kevin Fiala is as starstruck about the addition to the team as we are! Absolutely bananas. What a cool time to be both a Wild fan AND a Wild player.

There’s a smaller more mercenary “it’s about fucking winning” part of me that hopes that the confidence with playing with a future Hall-of-Fame goalie that you’ve looked up to nearly your whole life takes the team on an absolute tear.

Mostly, however, I’m excited Fleury is with us because we get to hear about little Kevin Fiala wanting to be a goaltender someday and that’s just about the sweetest thing I’ve heard in my whole life.