Perhaps the most satisfying skate Zach Parise got in this week came Wednesday night at Richfield Ice Arena.
That’s where Parise, 12 of his teammates, retired Wild player Keith Ballard and Twins player Joe Mauer held a skating and pizza party for current and former patients of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
Here’s how it happened: Parise’s wife, Alisha, is on the board for the Shine Bright Bash, a fundraising gala for the hospital and clinic, an auction to raise funds to support advancements in the treatment of pediatric cancer and blood disorders. A couple of years ago she and Zach came up with the idea of putting a skating party up for auction. This year the person who won the party donated it back to the clinic — the Parises matched the bid.
“He hand-picked current and former patients from the Children’s Hospital,” Parise said of Steve Brown, the bidder who won the skate and donated it back in the memory of his late wife. “That made it a little extra special for the kids, and for us, too. It was great.’’
Other Wild players included Charlie Coyle, Darcy Kuemper, Erik Haula, Chris Porter, Mikael Granlund, Matt Dumba, Ryan Suter, Niklas Backstrom, Jason Zucker, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon and Jarret Stoll.
And it turns out Mauer skates pretty well.
“I think he was a little hesitant to get out there for the first shift,” Parise said. “But he was fine.’’
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of goalie Devan Dubnyk’s debut with Minnesota. Acquired in a trade with Arizona, Dubnyk helped the struggling Wild turn its season around, and it began with a 7-0 shutout victory in Buffalo on Jan. 15, 2015. Starting with that night Dubnyk has gone 45-22-6 with the Wild following Friday’s loss against Winnipeg.
Yeo was asked to talk about the impact Dubnyk has had on the Wild.
“It’s pretty special what he’s done,” Yeo said. “We’re always pretty proud and happy for our players when they achieve personal success, and it’s always a great compliment to the rest of the group as well. Just looking at him, where he came from, the story, it’s pretty remarkable. We’re very fortunate to have him.’’
A special guest
A guest of Yeo at Friday’s morning skate was Josh Karels, a 15-year-old from Cottage Grove who is battling a multisystem autoimmune disease. Karels has undergone numerous surgeries, including having his large intestine and parts of his small intestine removed, the result of an immune system that is essentially attacking his body.
Karels’ mother, Katie, recently wrote an article about her son in Let’s Play Hockey. In it she described her son’s courage and his determination to continue living his life as fully as possible, a desire that includes playing hockey. Yeo saw the story and invited Josh and his family to Friday’s game. Josh was introduced to players and collected autographs in the morning. The family returned to attend Friday’s game.
“To do something like this is such a small thing for us,’’ Yeo said. “He’s such a respectful kid, and he certainly seemed to just love every minute of being around here. His story is pretty inspiring. I felt lucky just to get a chance to meet him.’’