Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
When Jason Zucker walked into the Xcel Energy Center for the first of the team's two prospect development camp scrimmages on Thursday, July 12, he was greeted by a surprise sight: There were already fans milling in the lobby of the arena, waiting for the gates to open.
"I wasn't expecting that. That was awesome," he said. "I knew Minnesota had great fans, and a big part of that was the big signings (Zach Parise and Ryan Suter) we just got. They're really excited about the season. They just wanted to come watch some hockey, and that's the way to do it over the summer."
The Wild announced that 6,500 fans attended Thursday's scrimmage, which featured two squads of the team's best prospects. The team gave away 1,000 Suter T-shirts, but those were gone within minutes after bigger-than-expected crowds forced the Wild to open the gates early. Team White -- led by 2011 first-round draft pick Jonas Brodin, forward Charlie Coyle and 2012 second-rounder Raphael Bussieres -- scored three goals in the final minutes of regulation to tie the score 4-4, eventually winning 10-8 after a shootout contest that would have happened no matter the score. But the Wild have enough prospects that the competition level was bound to be high, even if players weren't in peak shape.
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