In a pretty neat press conference three hours before today’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Wild signed 16-year-old Carter Casey of Breckenridge, Minn., to a one-day professional contract in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement.
Because General Manager Chuck Fletcher is at the NHL GM’s meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., coach Bruce Boudreau had the honor.
Carter was a hockey-playing defenseman in Breckenridge until 15 months ago when he was shockingly diagnosed with a rare form of muscle cancer. He has endured countless aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments since.
As part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Carter’s wish was to meet the Wild, and the grant just so happened to mark a landmark milestone in Make-A-Wish Minnesota’s 35-year history.
Carter was the 5,000th wish recipient in Minnesota.
Boudreau began the presser by telling those gathered, including Carter’s mother, Shanna, father, Carl, and brother, Justin, that “we have a new player in town and we’re going to make sure he’s part of our group. Carter’s had a little bit of rough luck lately, but we’re going to make sure he’s right back on track for us.
“It’s my honor to be able to sign this [contract] and have you be part of the Wild. I know you’re going to in any way you can bring us the championship this year.”
Boudreau then handed Carter the pen and hilariously said, “Sign here if you want your million,” then Boudreau turned to the crowd and quipped, “Isn’t that what all players make?”
After the presser, Boudreau told Carter, “We’re going to use your spirit as a way to motivate us.”
Carter said, “Get the W.”
Yes, Boudreau said, “Get the W. This is a tough team we’re playing and we’re going to need your mojo to get us going.”
Carter responded, “Get on top of the Blackhawks again?”
Boudreau answered, “Yeah, let’s not talk about that,” then kiddingly told him, “If we win tonight, we’re going to bring you in for that one [next Sunday in Chicago], too.”
Carter’s favorite player? Erik Haula: “He’s really energetic, an electric player, and he’s from the Gophs.”
Besides signing the contract and receiving a Wild sweater, Casey taped sticks from the bench, got an arena and press box tour, will meet the Wild broadcasters, will get to watch warmups from the penalty box and meet players during a locker-room tour after the game.”
Boudreau invited him to his postgame press conference, too, and kidded, “Hopefully I’m still in a good mood.”