Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — If Paul Fenton wasn't already aware of his task as new general manager of the Wild, owner Craig Leipold sat next to him and made it clear during an introductory new conference Tuesday morning, May 22, at Xcel Energy Center. In front of dozens of people that included players such as Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, and Ryan Suter, Leipold took the mic to introduce Fenton, who on Monday afternoon was named the third general manager in franchise history.
After a monthlong search process for the next Wild general manager, owner Craig Leipold has decided that Paul Fenton is the right man for the job. Fenton was viewed as the frontrunner from the get-go and was the first person Leipold and team president Matt Majka interviewed nearly a month ago. He remained the primary target despite a handful of other candidates being brought in for interviews over the last month or so.
MINNEAPOLIS — It's a little past 7:30 a.m. on a nondescript morning in the middle of May and a tired Lindsay Whalen is about to start another double shift. She takes a few minutes to scarf down breakfast at home before rushing to her office at the University of Minnesota. The newly hired head coach of the women's basketball program spends the next couple of hours chatting with her coaching staff, finishing up some administrative work and planning the rest of the week.
EAGAN, Minn. — As part of the first training camp at their brand-new facility in Eagan, the Vikings will play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a pair of joint practices Aug. 15-16. The practices precede a preseason game between the teams Aug. 18 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Both teams were the runners-up in their respective conferences last season, with the Vikings losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, and the Jaguars losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
ST. PAUL — The Twin Cities welcomed its newest professional sports team Tuesday, May 15, with the announcement that the Minnesota Whitecaps will join the National Women’s Hockey League. The Whitecaps, a Twin Cities team founded in 2004, join as the league’s fifth team with the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and Metropolitan Riveters and will start playing at the start of the 2018-19 season.
WINNIPEG—A little more than a year ago, Erik Haula sat in front of his locker at the Xcel Energy Center and let loose. "What is this, five years in a row now?" Haula said after the Wild were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. "I'm sick of it. We are all sick of it. You can say this or that or whatever, I'm just so ticked off."
MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time in her life, Temi Fagbenle found herself riding the bench last season. She played all of 89 minutes during her rookie season with the Lynx — about 4.2 minutes a game — and had mostly 0's by her name in the box score. "That was a completely different take on what I've experienced before," the 6-foot-4 Fagbenle said. "It was humbling, and it made me find other ways in which I can help my team."
ST. PAUL — Wild blue liner Matt Dumba is in line for a hefty raise this offseason. After the most productive campaign of his five-year NHL career — 14 goals and 36 assists — the 23-year-old's new contract could pay him in upwards of $5 million a season. That's heady stuff for Dumba, whose parents, Charles and Treena, had to work multiple jobs so he and his little brother Kyle could play the sport they loved growing up in Calgary, Alta.
ST. PAUL—Maybe it's a coincidence that last season, at the ripe age of 35, Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson had one of her most productive campaigns in recent memory. Or maybe it's not. As far as Brunson, now 36, is concerned, it's no mistake she's still playing at such a high level entering Year 15 of her WNBA career. "I feel great and I'm sure that's attributed to some of things that I put into my body," the 6-foot-2 veteran said. "You just feel better eating the right things."
EAGAN, Minn.—On Friday, May 4, about 20 miles from Dinkytown, a trio of former Minnesota Gophers were busy trying to make a name for themselves on the first day of Vikings rookie minicamp at the team's new training facility in Eagan. While no Gophers were selected in last week's NFL Draft, running back Kobe McCrary, safety Kunle Ayinde and defensive tackle Merrick Jackson were awarded tryouts with Minnesota with the hope of making the Vikings' roster ahead of OTAs.