Plenty Of Holiday Spirit In The State Of Hockey

The Minnesota Wild gets back to game action tonight after its second extended “break” in the past two weeks. It’s tough to call it a break, because these guys don’t just sit on the Davenport and watch Days of our Lives when it’s not a gameday. There were practices on Monday and Tuesday, but these guys were busy making the rounds all over the Twin Cities and spreading some holiday cheer.

Niklas Backstrom was at the Wild’s Hockey Lodge store in Maplewood on Tuesday where he was signing autographs. Patrick O’Sullivan and John Madden were the featured guests at Hockey Unplugged at Champp’s in Eden Prairie that same night.

And yesterday, guys really got busy with spreading some cheer. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse and Mikko Koivu visited children at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul. Brad Staubitz and Cam Barker went to another hospital to hand out some gifts and spread some holiday cheer.

And that’s not all. Brent Burns, Clayton Stoner, James Sheppard and Josh Harding were joined by NHL Alumni Shjon Podein, Brad Maxwell and Tom Younghans yesterday at the Defending the Blueline event in which they got to meet some of the families they have been helping through this effort. Defending the Blueline assists families of all branches of the military with costs associated with hockey. They provide financial assistance for registration fees, equipment, summer hockey camps, and unique experiences such as attending an NHL game for free.

And players aren’t the only ones that can help out during the holiday season. Fans attending tonight’s game at Xcel Energy Center can bid on special holiday ornaments created by Wild player and coach wives and girlfriends, with the proceeds going to the Minnesota Wild foundation. In addition to those ornaments, fans can also bid on a Wild Christmas tree, as well as an ornament designed by local fashion designer and Project Runway contestant, Christopher Straub.

That’s a lot going on, not to mention the Wild About Children event that raised $115,000 last week, or the Movember campaign that wrapped up the week before. All tolled, the Wild raised $28,270 for Movember, and established a Guinness World Record for most moustachioed men in one area with 1,131 ‘staches on the ice following the Wild’s November 26 win over the Nashville Predators.

Finally, we can talk about tonight. Of course, it’s Dino Ciccarelli Night at Xcel Energy Center, and all fans are encouraged to be in their seats at 7:00 tonight so they can witness the entire pregame ceremony. Dino will be involved in several promotions throughout the night, although I don’t think there will be any Dino Dinosaurs handed out tonight. My apologies.

However, all fans will receive a Dino commemorative card upon their arrival, and the first 5,000 will get the final edition of the Year Ten All-Time Team Bobblehead series featuring Brent Burns.

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