Wild owner Craig Leipold will charter a plane Saturday so his team — management, coaches, players, staff and family members — can attend Bob Suter’s funeral in Madison, Wis.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Zach Parise, whose close friend and teammate Ryan Suter is mourning the loss of his 57-year-old father. “It sounds cliché, but you have your team and you consider that your second family. I’ve known Ryan for a long time, and I’m glad that we’re doing that. Even if we didn’t have a plane, I’ll bet you the whole team would drive. I’m just glad that we’ll be there for Ryan and his family.”
Bob Suter, a Wild scout and member of the famed “Miracle on Ice” team, died Monday of a heart attack while in the lobby of the Middleton, Wis., hockey rink he co-owned with his son.
“The sudden loss of my father has been difficult for myself and our family — my dad was my hero and he taught me about life, hockey and what was truly important — family,” Ryan Suter said in a statement. “He will be missed greatly and his legacy and spirit will be with us every day. He lived with the motto, ‘It’s all about the kids,’ and forever he will be remembered by this.
“My family and I also want to say thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support we have received from the hockey community around the world. It means a lot to us to know how much he was loved and will be missed.”
Leipold, a Wisconsin native who has known Bob Suter since Ryan was drafted by the Nashville Predators, whom Leipold owned at the time, was devastated by Monday’s news.
“It’s just a sad time,” Leipold said. “He was a great guy, great man. Ryan gets all of his great qualities from his father. He was a great person to be with and personified everything good about hockey.”
Bob Suter scouted the United States Hockey League and Wisconsin high schools the past two years for the Wild. In 2013, with the Wild without a first-round pick, Suter was a big proponent of the team selecting defenseman Gustav Olofsson in the second round out of USHL Green Bay.
“Bob was a tremendous asset to our scouting staff,” assistant GM Brent Flahr said. “He loved the game of hockey, he was around rinks all of his life, and he had a natural eye for talent.”
Bob Suter is survived by his wife, Mary; his parents; three brothers and a sister; and three sons.
Mikko’s brother retires
Saku Koivu, the older brother of Wild captain Mikko Koivu, retired Tuesday after 18 seasons in the NHL. Koivu scored 255 goals, 577 assists and 832 points in 1,124 games for the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks. He captained the Canadiens 10 years and won four medals with Finland in the Olympics.
“I think he has the respect of each and every team and in each and every town that he played for, from his country, from his teammates and from the staffs,” said Mikko Koivu, the Wild’s all-time leading scorer. “He has always been a class act, and I think you’re going to hear that a lot from around the league and around the hockey world.”
• The Wild will hold an open-to-the-public practice Sept. 20 at Xcel Energy Center from 9:30 a.m.-noon. Single-game tickets go on sale that morning at 10 at the arena’s box office.
• The Wild will share the Alaska Aces with the St. Louis Blues as an ECHL affiliate this season.