On a beautiful afternoon in July, pucks and ice were on the minds of about 650 Wild fans in the State of Hockey. That’s because the club opened the doors to Xcel Energy Center for the team’s Development Camp 3-on-3 tournament.
The Wild’s showcase for its top prospects changed a little this summer, opting for a 3-on-3 winner take all tourney rather than a scrimmage. Going into today’s action one might’ve thought that the pace on the ice would be a little tame without a full ice surface, but you’d be mistaken. Playing one zone, from the blue line in, the speed was quick and there were plenty of goals, and hits.
Although this is not an “evaluation,” as it is set up as learning experience for these NHL hopefuls, the competitive edge took over. The prospects are looking for every opportunity to impress the club’s brass, who were in attendance steadily watching the action, regardless of when and where they get that chance.
The games were much more physical than expected and with the tight areas, you could see high-skill plays develop. Players had to make quick decisions or get burned like someone who fell asleep at the beach.
Maybe it was the silver chalice that is yet to have the winner’s names etched into the side or the bragging rights of taking home the tourney, but whatever it is, the pace was brisk and worth the price of admission (it was free and open to the public).
If you missed the action, don’t be too bummed, as fans will have tomorrow and Saturday to catch more of the tournament. The Lighthouse will be there with a little more analysis as we catch more of the action.
The Wild’s Kevin Falness caught up with Daniel Gunnarsson, Adam Gilmour, Louie Nanne and Wild Hockey Ops Advisor Andrew Brunette to talk more about the day. You can listen to that PONDcast here.
For a look at what the 3-on-3 tournament was like here is our own WildTV video.