Minnesota Wild eye Duluth for training camp
The Minnesota Wild may take up temporary residence in Duluth in September to start training camp for the 2008-09 season. Because the National Hockey League team is being displaced by the 2008 Republican National Convention, which will take over S...
The Minnesota Wild may take up temporary residence in Duluth in September to start training camp for the 2008-09 season.
Because the National Hockey League team is being displaced by the 2008 Republican National Convention, which will take over St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center from Sept. 1-4, the Wild is looking for alternate housing.
The Wild has been scouting sites the past month and assistant general manager Tom Lynn announced Monday that the top three candidates are Duluth, Grand Forks, N.D., and a European location, likely based in Trencin, Slovakia, hometown of Wild forward Marian Gaborik.
A Wild representative recently took a tour of the DECC and talked with staff members, including operations director Bob Hom.
"The team seems to be serious about their inquiry and is happy with our setup because we can offer more than just a rink,'' Hom said Wednesday. "We have rooms next door at the convention center for meetings, a catering service for meals, a weight room and hotels in downtown and Canal Park that the team could walk to the rink from.''
Hom said he and DECC executive director Dan Russell also have talked with the University of Minnesota Duluth about the arrangement. UMD's teams for men and women are the building's main hockey tenants and may need to share facilities with the Wild during the week that the NHL players would be in town.
"We would find ways to make this work. We see it as a good partnership situation with the city,'' UMD athletic director Bob Nielson said.
Available in Grand Forks is the $104 million Ralph Engelstad Arena, home to the University of North Dakota's hockey team since 2001-02. Gaborik funded the building of a rink in Trencin in 2005.
Hom said the Wild didn't discuss any financial arrangement or a timetable for making a selection. However, Hom said the sooner a decision is made, the better, because the DECC may receive other offers to use the building during the September dates.
In 2004, the NFL's Minnesota Vikings talked with the city of Duluth about moving their training camp here, but they then chose to remain in Mankato, Minn.