Fox Sports North and the Wild made it official Tuesday morning: FSNorth veteran Anthony LaPanta is the new television play-by-play voice of the Wild. He replaces Dan Terhaar, whose contract wasn't renewed last month after seven seasons at the mike.

LaPanta, the Gophers' play-by-play voice since 2010 and the Wild, Wolves and Twins studio host since 2004, will join analyst Mike Greenlay as the Wild's television team.

The hire comes after three days worth of almost universally negative feedback from fans over LaPanta's expected hiring on blogs and message boards. 

The Wild has the right to hire its own broadcasters in consultation with FSNorth. It was clear from the early going that FSNorth had a big influence over the decision. That's what happens when you pay big bucks for the local TV rights of a sports team, I guess.

The way it works with these deals in most cases is the teams pay the broadcasters, but FSN reimburses the team up to usually $250,000 to pay salaries. Any overages is paid by the team. So when fans complain to me about homerism, that's why I always write: "What do you expect? They're paid by the team." 

I've gotten so many e-mails and tweets and I've read comments in the last couple days from Gophers fans and other WCHA fans that LaPanta is the ultimate homer. Again, I don't watch often because I'm working and I can't claim to know LaPanta well. But again, I say, what do you expect? FSNorth is a rightsholder, a partner. Don't want homerism, read a newspaper. 

Turn on any local broadcast in any sports league, and for the most part, other than New York and Chicago and a few other markets, you're going to see the exact same thing, if not worse. 

Ive gotten a lot of e-mails asking for other names that were interested in the job. I've got to keep most secret because the conversations I had with them were in confidence and some are under contract with other entities. 

Former Columbus play-by-play man Dan Kelly, I'm told, was a candidate. Former Thrashers studio host and radio play-by-play man Dan Kamal was interested. The most intriguing name that may have been available is longtime Carolina play-by-play man John Forslund. I'm not sure he's looking to uproot his life because he's a staple in Raleigh and I've got to think will re-sign, but his contract is up June 30 and he's basically become the No. 3 or 4 man on NBC Sports Network. Like I said, not sure he was even interested and of course it would have taken a sweet, long-term deal to get him here IF it didn't work out in Raleigh.

One talented guy that was available is admittedly a good friend of mine - former Marlins announcer Roxy Bernstein. He's the Cal basketball announcer, fills in on Sharks games and hosts a radio show in San Francisco. So talented, great voice.

I believe about 20 or so folks, with varying degrees of experience, officially applied for the position..

Here's the press release.  Youngblood will have a story for the paper tomorrow.



FOX Sports North: the Exclusive Local Television Home for the 2012-13 Minnesota Wild Season


The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild today named Anthony LaPanta television play-by-play announcer.
LaPanta, a graduate of Totino-Grace High School and St. John’s University (Collegeville, Minn.), has covered the Twin Cities sports scene since 1991. The New Brighton, Minn., native has hosted the pregame and postgame shows on FOX Sports North for the Twins, Wild and Timberwolves nightly since 2004 and served as the television play-by-play announcer for the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team the past two seasons. LaPanta has also served as a play-by-play announcer for the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Timberwolves on a fill in basis.
“I have dreamed of doing NHL play-by-play since I was very young,” said LaPanta. “To have this opportunity in my hometown is truly special. I am a lifelong resident of the State of Hockey, and hockey is in my blood. From my work covering the Minnesota Wild for the last eight years, to calling games at the high school and college level, to spending as much of my free time as possible as a youth hockey dad, the game has been a huge part of my life. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me.” 
Before joining FOX Sports North, LaPanta was the television voice of the St. Paul Saints for ten seasons and was the radio play-by-play announcer for the Twins in 1999. He has won four regional Emmy Awards (two for play-by-play and two for anchor/host) and was involved with the development of the Hockey Day Minnesota concept. LaPanta and his wife, Margo, have four children, and reside in Shoreview, Minn., where he is active in the hockey community.
LaPanta will team with television analyst Mike Greenlay on FOX Sports North, the exclusive local television home for Wild hockey. Greenlay enters his 11th year as the Wild’s television analyst since being assigned to the post on Aug. 13, 2002. The former goaltender previously served as the radio analyst for the Anaheim Ducks (1999-2001) and the Nashville Predators (1998-99) and also worked as a television analyst on several networks.
“This is a great opportunity for Anthony, we’re enthusiastic about his new role in our Wild telecasts,” said Mike Dimond, Senior Vice President and General Manager for FOX Sports North.  “Anthony has worked long and hard as the face of our network. We’ll miss him in that capacity, but thankful he’ll still be part of our network moving forward.”





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