Wild think new practice facility can be a game-changer
ST. PAUL — Perhaps the only drawback for the Wild finally moving into their recently completed practice facility — located on the corner of Wabasha Street and 6th Street in downtown St. Paul — is that it might be too big.
Asked to assess the new digs, coach Bruce Boudreau quipped, "Well, I know it's going make me lose weight because I've got to walk about 100 yards like 10 times a day."
"You go in there and it's like, 'Geez. This organization didn't cut any corners,'" Boudreau said. "I feel like when guys see that, it's kind of like, 'OK. If they're not cutting corners, we're not cutting corners, either.'"
Clearly, everyone associated with the Wild feels this space can be a game-changer for the franchise in search of an elusive Stanley Cup.
"We are going to be pretty spoiled with what we've got," winger Charlie Coyle said. "They did a really good job with it."
"They did a great job with every part of it," agreed defenseman Jared Spurgeon. "It has everything we need."
This move has been a long time coming for the Wild. They were supposed to move into the 22,800-square-foot space last season, but construction delays pushed back the timeline to now.
While the state-of-the-art TRIA Rink is located on the fifth floor of the Treasure Island Center, the basement of the building is the true gem of the project, providing everything else the Wild need, and then some.
"It's so cool," defenseman Nick Seeler said. "They thought of pretty much everything. We have cold tubs, hot tubs, a pretty sweet weight room, an awesome kitchen, and obviously a great rink upstairs. It's pretty exciting. We are lucky to have something this."
Take a walk around the 4,300-square-foot weight room, or the 1,300-square-foot locker room (no worries, the logo is on the ceiling), or the 1,100-square-foot whirlpool room, and it's not hard to see how this space is going to change the way the Wild prepare on a daily basis.
"It's pretty impressive," Coyle said. "It makes us all look forward to coming to the rink. Not that we didn't before. It's just awesome to have this state-of-the-art stuff."
Finally with its own dedicated space, the Wild no longer will have to travel across the Twin Cities for practices. In the past, whenever the Xcel Energy Center was occupied, the team practiced at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights or Braemar Arena in Edina.
"It will definitely be nice not having any more dress and drives," Coyle said. "To have this space, and know this is where we're coming every day, we can kind of get comfy here, and get into a routine. We are very fortunate to have what we have, and everyone knows that."
It helps that everything the Wild need is centrally located, allowing players to practice, recover, and even rehab in the same place
"It's a huge advantage for us," Seeler said. "They thought of pretty much everything. Now that we're finally in here, we want to make sure we make the most of it."
The brand-new practice facility could do wonders in attracting top-tier free agents down the road.
"If they see the effort and the money they put into this, it could help sway a guy's decision," Spurgeon said. "As is, the Twin Cities are pretty awesome, so to have this, it makes it even better."
Eventually, the newness of the space will wear off, and when it does, what's left will determine whether or not it's actually a game-changer for the franchise.
"It can be if we take advantage of what it provides," Coyle said. "It's not like just because we have this we're going to automatically get to the next level. We still have to put in the work. It's up to us to make sure we do that."