Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's a Wild end of the year

Since this is my last Hockey Card Geek post for the year, I figured I'd go out with a bang.
While it's true a lot of folks will do year-end card ratings, or their favorites for the year, or such, I don't feel I've been posting enough to warrant such a missive. 
So, I'll just have to subject you, dear reader, to a hodgepodge of sorts.
I'll begin by thanking Mrs. Santa for the wonderful gifts she left me this year. Besides some nice hockey and baseball card packs and boxes, she left me an Iowa Wild away hockey jersey. As inaugural season ticket holders, I can now represent our team in style.
Rather than put a players' name and number on the back, thereby dating the jersey, she put "McDuff" as the name plate, as well as the number "36," which is the number I've always worn when I was young and stupid and racing motocross (I'm not quite as young anymore), and playing hockey.
She also got me an Iowa Wild lace-up sweatshirt.
I must have been a very good boy, this year...
Speaking of being good boys, the Iowa Wild have been doing a great job in winning over the hearts and minds of Iowa hockey fans. With previous incarnations of the Iowa Stars (Dallas) and Iowa Chops (Anaheim), leaving a sour taste in our mouths, Iowa fans may have been a bit leery of yet another AHL entity invading the heartland.

With the Des Moines Buccaneers representing the USHL in Tier 1 amateur hockey (since 1980-81), two high school teams (late 90's) and the seventh-ranked Iowa State University club hockey team, vying for our hockey attention, your next thought was, "Gee, I wonder how long this team will last."
I, however, feel it's a match made in Heaven. Before the season began, the new owners held a ticket holder open house with free food, an open skate on the Wild ice, and lots of opportunities to meet with trainers, broadcasters, and other staff (the players were away at a pre-season tourney). They opened up the team's locker room and training areas, and held a Q&A session with fans. They said all the right things, which helped set the tone for the start of the season.
They even took a picture of all of us - We're about 10 rows up in the middle section.

While it's harder to follow players who move on to Texas and/or California, the Wild's parent team is now just a few miles north on I-35. It's not that difficult to head up to the Twin Cities to catch an NHL Minnesota Wild game to see Iowa alumni play. In fact, Goalie Darcy Keumper has been sent up to Minnesota several times already this year.
As 2013 comes to an end, the Wild are in the league's top third in attendance, with a 13-14-2 record in the Midwest Division.
I actually take my camera to a few of the games, so if any one's looking for some pictures of their team's AHL affiliates, let me know and I'll see what I can get.
So now, let's end 2013 with at least two New Year's resolutions.
My first New Year's resolution is that I vow to be a bit more consistent in my Hockey Card Geek posts. Once every week or two just doesn't cut it.

As for my second resolution, I vow to re-organize my entire hockey collection. I have eight, 5,000-count hockey boxes that are organized by player, and then I have another four boxes that I have either purchased, or thrown packs into, or any loose hockey cards I pick up. This year, they will indeed be organized and entered into my hockey card data base.
Until then, Happy New Year's and I'll see you all in 2014.

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