STATE OF HOCKEY: Minnesota Wild surprise local youth teams

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 11:48 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) -Two Duluth-area youth hockey teams thought it was going to be just another night at the Duluth Heritage Center.

Then, they got the surprise of their young lives.

The Minnesota Wild surprised the kids, bringing their Youth Hockey Spotlight game to Duluth Tuesday night.

“I’m shocked and speechless,” said 12-year-old Carter Spoden, who had no words after finding out he and his teammates were about to meet and play with former Minnesota Wild stars.

“Our kids, in general, are all big Wild fans. I think we all really appreciate the efforts of the Wild, and we all cheer for them. It’s really special, these kids won’t forget it probably forever,” said Duluth East Pee Wee coach Scott Mathias.

From the minute they walked into the arena, the Duluth East and North Shore Pee Wee teams were treated to the full professional experience: custom jerseys and other swag, Nordy the Wild Mascot, and even special celebrity guest coaches.

“To just give these kids this experience, it’s truly remarkable,” said former Wild team captain Wes Walz. “It’s an amazing program and we just love to give back to communities all over the state of hockey.”

Walz was the guest coach for Duluth East.

“I’m here to have a good time with them, give them feedback, encourage the kids with some motivation or anything that could serve them well during the season,” said Stephane Veilleux, former Wild left-wing and guest coach for the North Shore Storm.

For Carter, the future is full of hockey with three very special teams.

“I hope to play high school hockey with the Hounds, and maybe make it pro or college,” he said.

As for who he’d like to play for in college and professionally? The UMD Bulldogs and Minnesota Wild.

Wild officials said they do three to five Youth Hockey Spotlight Games per season.

They pick communities that embody the spirit of hockey.

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