Want to see if you’re faster than Erik Haula? Now you’ll have that opportunity because the speedy Wild center is part of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s latest exhibit, “Sportsology.”
The museum, where Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher is a member of the board of trustees, did its best to turn every field, court, track, gym and sheet of ice into a science lab. Guests can study the body in motion and see what it takes to hit a basket, swing a racket or score a goal. The exhibit opened Jan. 6.
Several local athletes took part in different facets of the interactive exhibits, including the Twins’ Joe Mauer, the Vikings’ Adam Thielen, the Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota United’s Justin Davis and Gophers gymnast Abby DeMuse.
In the speed exhibit featuring Haula, guests can record themselves racing alongside Haula, then compare themselves to him to see how they did.
Last summer, Haula went to a sound stage in Minneapolis to film his scenes. In front of “tons of high-tech cameras,” Haula did his parts in front of a blue screen. First he ran, then he got into full hockey gear and put on in-line skates for the skating scenes.
“I just went as fast as I could. Two seconds, it’d be done, and we’d go again,” said Haula, a former Gopher.
There’s some humor behind it, too — Haula was filmed doing different gestures, including egging opponents on.
On Tuesday, Haula went across the street from Xcel Energy Center to the museum to see the finished product.
“It turned out pretty good,” Haula said. “It was just cool to see kids picking you and trying to beat you.”
Wild team operations manager Andrew Heydt said Haula “raced against himself, and he won. Yeah, he beat himself.”
Wild owner Craig Leipold is thrilled the team’s long-anticipated, state-of-the-art practice facility has finally been approved and will spring up on the site of the old Macy’s building in St. Paul by next fall.
“I, like everybody else, am going ‘Come on,’ but they’re looking at me and saying, ‘We’ll be done by the start of next season,’ ” Leipold said. “It’s going to be a great space for our players. They’re going to feel comfortable. Our coaches are going to feel good. It’ll be super for downtown. It’s going to change that whole area.”
The Wild will not only practice there every day, coach Bruce Boudreau said gameday morning skates will likely be there. He’s excited it could be done by training camp.
“So I should still be here,” said Boudreau, a quip that he should still be employed by then.
With the Wild tight against the salary cap, Leipold, like Fletcher last month, is confident the Wild will be able to afford to re-sign possible restricted free agents Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.
“Chuck has a plan, and he’s always had a plan,” Leipold said. “I have complete faith in his ability to get this thing done. There’s no way that those guys are walking. It’s not going to happen.”
All about Ovi
Boudreau had a great line regarding his former Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, who scored twice Wednesday to pass Maurice “Rocket” Richard for 29th on the career goal-scoring list with 546 and become the 84th player to surpass 1,000 points.
Asked if Ovechkin is a different player today, Boudreau said: “Well, he’s more mature. I had him when he was single.”