Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild announces festivities leading up to Saturday's home opener

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild training camp Updated: October 4, 2011 - 4:06 PM


SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced its festivities leading up to Saturday night’s home opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. The game is expected to be a sellout. Limited seats are still available at Wild.com.

The Wild’s Wake-Up Rally, presented by Kwik Trip, is this Friday, Oct. 7, from 6-9 a.m. along Kellogg Boulevard in front of the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Fans are invited to make the rally a part of their morning commute, driving eastbound by the Science Museum, and westbound outside RiverCentre. Breakfast items include milk and banana bread provided by Kwik Trip, coffee by Cameron’s Coffee and newspapers by the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. Coke products, Wild calendars, magnetic schedules and pocket schedules will also be provided. Also, KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show will be broadcasting live.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. the Wild will host a Pre-Game Party at Gate 2. The party will include live music (Uncle Chunk, as well as the St. Paul Como Park High School band), the KFAN pre-game show (5-6:30 p.m.), autographs from NHL alumni as well as food and beverage.

At Saturday’s game, all fans will receive a free Minnesota Wild calendar courtesy of FOX Sports North, Wells Fargo and Xcel Energy, as well as a Minnesota Wild Hospitality Card featuring special offers from area restaurants. In pre-game ceremonies, the Wild will pay tribute to deceased “teammates” Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra. As a part of the tribute, beginning Saturday, Wild players will start wearing commemorative stickers on their helmets.

The Wild will also welcome Pat Smith and his family as special guests for Opening Night. The Smith’s, of Owatonna, made national headlines this summer when one 11-year-old twin son, Nate, made a center-ice shot for $50,000 at a Shattuck-St. Mary’s celebrity hockey event, but it was actually the other son, Nick, whose name was called to shoot. Eventually, the kids’ shootout efforts raised $20,000 for Minnesota youth hockey. Their father, Pat, will make the “Let’s Play Hockey” announcement, while Nate and Nick will participate in an on-ice activity during the first intermission for a chance to win a great prize courtesy of Polaris Industries and the Wild.


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