The Minnesota Wild lack tradition. It’s not their fault. The National Hockey League was founded in Canada and didn’t include American teams until 1924, when the Boston Bruins were admitted.
The early years of professional hockey included more leagues vying for Lord Stanley’s Cup than just the NHL. But in 1942-43, the league was combusted down to what we now know as the “original six”. It did not include any representation from the state of Minnesota.
Finally in 1967, the NHL doubled in size and the Minnesota North Stars were one of six expansion teams. They lasted 26 years before Norm Green took them to Dallas.
The Wild arrived in St. Paul to right wrongs in 2000-01. That makes 2020-21 their 20th anniversary. Think about that. The Wild’s stay in the state of hockey now falls just 6 years short of the North Stars.
Oh captain my captain
For the first eight years of the Wild’s existence, Jacques Lemaire walked the bench as head coach and he didn’t believe in permanent captains. The wealth of the “C” was spread around and 3-6 captains were named throughout the course of each season.
Then Jacques “resigned” after the 08-09 season and that’s when the “Chuck Fletcher era” began (according to Wikipedia, where I got all of the information you see above). Todd Richards (first HC under Fletcher) named Mikko Koivu the captain for the 2009-10 season and he’s worn the “C” ever since.
But Mikko Koivu’s days in Minnesota are over and the Wild needed a new captain for their 20th season in the NFL. This morning, that captain became Jared Spurgeon.
Out of the likely candidates, Jared Spurgeon made the most sense. Both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise have contracts that keep them in Minnesota for five more seasons but we don’t know if either will play them out.
Spurgeon just signed a 7-year deal in September of 2019 and the Wild defense will be built around him for the next handful of years. He’s also a fixture in the community for the Wild and just a stand-up human.
The puck drops for the Minnesota Wild on January 14, vs the LA Kings. Spurgeon will debut his new “C” then.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan