Good morning.

Finally, training camp is upon us with the Wild players hitting the ice for the first time this morning at 9 a.m.

Remember, open scrimmage today and Sunday at 10 a.m. Gate 1 opens at 9:50.

Here is today's notebook and a video shot by myself and Chip Scoggins

Couple press releases from the Wild yesterday, both neat in its own right:


SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced “Countdown to Opening Night”, which will see 22 prizes given away over the 22 days starting Saturday, Sept. 17, and culminating on Opening Night, Saturday, Oct. 8. Current season ticket holders, and fans who renew or purchase a season ticket plan, will automatically be eligible to win great prizes and experiences. Visit beginning at midnight tonight for official rules and contest details. Daily prize winners will be announced at 10 a.m. the next business day via and Wild social media outlets.

The prizes include:
Sept. 17 – Two $500 Sun Country Travel Vouchers
Sept. 18 – 1 year supply of Red Baron Pizza
Sept. 19 – Tickets for four for Elite Seats on Opening Night
Sept. 20 – Trip for two on team charter to Wild-Blue Jackets game on Sept. 29
Sept. 21 – Four On The Glass Seats for Wild/Avalanche on Dec. 26
Sept. 22 – Golf for three at Troy Burne with Head Coach Mike Yeo (Summer 2012)
Sept. 23 – Spot for one in Taco Bell/Minnesota Wild Fantasy Camp (Feb. 9, 2012)
Sept. 24 – Trip for two to Houston with Aeros GM Jim Mill to see the Aeros’ home opener on Oct. 9
Sept. 25 – Autographed jersey and stick from your favorite Wild player
Sept. 26 – $500 Hockey Lodge shopping spree
Sept. 27 – Trip for two on 2011-12 Wild Road Trip
Sept. 28 – Free appearance by Nordy at your next event
Sept. 29 – Lunch for four with Wild owner Craig Leipold at Kincaid’s
Sept. 30 – 30 tickets in an event suite for the Wild-Oilers game on Nov. 25
Oct. 1 – 1 hour of ice time for you and 30 friends at Xcel Energy Center
Oct. 2 – Host the 2012 Wells Fargo/Minnesota Wild Kick-Off Party at your house (June 2012)
Oct. 3 – Private meet-and-greet with your favorite Wild player after team practice
Oct. 4 – Two $500 Sun Country Travel Vouchers
Oct. 5 – Pre-game dinner for two and a private booth in the Al Shaver Press Box for Wild-Ducks game on Feb. 14, 2012
Oct. 6 - $500 food and beverage gift card redeemable at Xcel Energy Center concession stands
Oct. 7 – Trip for two to NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas (June 2012)
Oct. 8 – Sign an NHL contract for a day (valued at $3,000)


SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild, Let’s Play Hockey and Minnesota Hockey announced a partnership for its third annual Used Hockey Equipment Drive. The drive will culminate in a public distribution on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Xcel Energy Center from 9 a.m. to noon. The event kicked off this afternoon at the Wild’s pre-season luncheon.

Sponsors and partners for the program, in alphabetical order, include Berger Transfer, Boehm’s, FOX Sports North, Herb Brooks Foundation, Let’s Play Hockey, Minnesota Girls Hockey Coaches Association, Minnesota High School Hockey Coaches Association, Minnesota Hockey, Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association, Minnesota Wild, Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League and Westwood Sports.

Berger Transfer will place drop-off boxes throughout the Twin Cities at select arenas and hockey shops, beginning Friday, Sept. 16, through Wednesday, Oct. 5. On Sunday, Oct. 9, the equipment will be distributed to hockey associations and individuals at Xcel Energy Center from 9 a.m. to noon. Goalie equipment, as well as sticks and helmets, are in the most need.

“Last season, we were able to distribute more than 2,000 pieces of hockey equipment to over 700 people, thanks to the generosity of Minnesotans,” Let’s Play Hockey publisher Doug Johnson said. “This is a great opportunity for people who want to stay in hockey, or begin to play for the first time.”

The drop-off locations include the following arenas: Burnsville, Woodbury, Super Rink (Blaine), Eden Prairie, Plymouth, Lakeville, Bloomington, Eagan, Highland (St. Paul), St. Thomas (Mendota Heights), Stillwater, Cottage Grove, Maple Grove, Apple Valley, White Bear Lake, Braemar (Edina), Buffalo, North St. Paul, Tartan (Oakdale) and Minnetonka. Westwood Sports (Bloomington and Apple Valley) and Boehm’s (Mendota Heights and St. Paul) are also drop-off locations.

In addition, Xcel Energy Center will have drop-off boxes at Gate 1 prior to each of the Wild’s pre-season home games on September 23, 27 and 30. Fans bringing in a piece of equipment on any of those nights will receive a buy one, get one free ticket offer good for any October Minnesota Wild 2011-12 regular season home game (limit one per person). Vouchers must be redeemed in person at the Xcel Energy Center box office.

Boehm’s hockey shop in St. Paul and Mendota Heights will be offering discounted cleaning coupons.

For more information, please contact Doug Johnson of Let’s Play Hockey at (612) 729-0023.