As first detailed here, this is one in a series of articles where I visit an arena to take in an NHL game from around the league. See, I’m just like you. I’m the common fan. Sometimes I’ll be sitting on the glass, and other times I’ll be in the upper echelons of the barn I’m visiting, but any way you slice it I’ll be soaking in the sights of arenas around the league.
Earlier I went to a game at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis to check out a team with one of the worst 5 names in Sports, the Minnesota Wild.
We arrived to the building without having eaten, so it was quickly time to grab a bite. I always try to get a taste of the local cuisine, eating whatever the specialty local item is. Minnesota presented a wide variety of food, so there were plenty of choices. They managed to mix two of my favorite things, hockey and buffalo chicken in a…hockey helmet full of Buffalo chicken nachos. Seriously:
The arena is full of cool, quirky stuff. Wile we’re talking about trying to choose between things, quick poll: what do you think would be the ultimate thing to have sitting in the upper corner of your team’s favorite building, a zamboni or a lighthouse? The good people of Minnesota clearly couldn’t decide on one so they went with both:
And the fans? Oh, the fans! This is among the most knowledgable fan base I’ve ever seen. Hockey is in their blood. From the world’s best pond hockey tournament to the high school jerseys all over the arena, puck runs thick in this region. These are among the best hockey fans on the planet. At one point, Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester shanked a one timer from the point and there was an audible laugh that came out of the expert fan base. Amazing.
It’s a weird thing where the team seems to care about the fans almost as much as the fans about them:
Really, this is a special place. Get there if you can.
Top 5 things about the Xcel Center
1) Have you been reading? Didn’t you see the hockey helmet full of buffalo chicken nachos?
2) You can get also a dessert version of said helmet with cinnamon nachos and chocolate sauce
3) Seeing Mike Modano North Stars jerseys everywhere
4) The fans are among the NHL’s friendliest
5) The Wild’s 3rds jerseys are the best “alternate jersey that should be worn normally” jersey in sports
Final grade: A+
Want to debate a list? Follow me @bluelineboomer
Special bonus list: Worst 5 Sports Team Names
1) Utah Jazz
2) Toronto Raptors
3) Minnesota Wild
4) Los Angeles Lakers
5) Orlando Magic