The Twins were terrible, the Vikings have collapsed, the Wolves have gotten off to a rotten start. And that's just a sample of the things that didn't go well in Minnesota sports this year.

So let's get beyond the present and start anew with 10 dates for you to look forward to in 2017.

After all, hope springs eternal, right?

January 1 -- The Gophers women's basketball team celebrates the start of 2017 by retiring Rachel Banham's number at its home opener against Maryland. Banham holds most of the Gophers scoring records and was a key reason for the resurgence of interest in the program.

March 3 -- The 2017 MLS season begins with the big-league debut of Minnesota United at Portland. After all the build-up, Minnesota soccer goes big time. (The home opener is March 12 vs. Atlanta.)

March 12 -- NCAA men's basketball Selection Sunday. Will the early season momentum of the Gophers men's basketball team be sustained well enough for an NCAA tournament berth? Right now, experts have them on the edge of contention after an 11-1 start. And this just in ... the United home opener is on this date, a 4 p.m. match against Atlanta at TCF Bank Stadium.

March 19 -- NCAA women's hockey championship game. Can the Gophers win another national title? It's a bit unfair, but that's the standard by which success for the team has come to be judged. Also, will THIS be the year when a fan can watch the title game LIVE on TV?

April 3 -- Opening Day for the Twins vs. Kansas City. What will the team's new baseball bosses give fans in the way of Opening Day excitement? How close will the Twins come to filling Target Field for the opener against Kansas City after last year's 103-loss embarrassment?

Week of April 9 -- Stanley Cup playoffs begin. The Wild's current hot streak gives hope for fans to not wonder whether the team will make the playoffs, but rather how far they'll go. Can coach Bruce Boudreau finally find postseason success to match his regular-season accomplishments?

April 27-29 -- The NFL Draft. What will the Vikings do to fix all the things that ail them? Can we fast forward through the zillion mock drafts and just get to the right thing?

May 14 -- The Lynx open their season against Chicago. Does the team's aging roster have another title run in it? Or will a makeover of Cheryl Reeve's team begin during their season at the X while Target Center renovations are completed.

Week of August 27 -- Gophers volleyball season begins. The team starts its quest for a third straight appearance in the national semifinals. Will this be the season they finally break through and win the title?

August 31 -- Gophers football opens against Buffalo (the university not the Bills). Will Tracy Claeys still be coaching? Will apathy toward the program have turned to animosity because of the players' boycott -- or will there still be the traditional season-opening optimism?

September 23 -- St. Thomas vs. St. John's in the first football game at Target Field. Will downtown be able to survive the mayhem of the raucous rivalry?

Week of October 24 -- Timberwolves season begins. What will the Wolves roster look like in the second year under Tom Thibodeau? Will veterans be more interested in coming here? Will all of the three youngsters still be on the team? What about Ricky Rubio? Will this be the season we hoped for in 2016?

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