ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — With so many Minnesotans raised on skates, playoff hockey is a special time of year.

The Wild is looking to take a 3-1 series lead tonight against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center. The crowd provided a huge advantage Monday night, and Wednesday’s game should be no different.

But the crowd isn’t only cheering for the Minnesota Wild. There are two hometown hockey players skating for the Blues. T.J. Oshie of Warroad and David Backes of Spring Lake Park started in the State of Hockey, but now play for St. Louis.

We caught up today with the Blues captain’s very proud mother. Long before he wore No. 42 in blue, David Backes was No. 5 at Spring Lake Park High School.

“The first time I put him on the ice to skate he went out there without a helmet and went and cracked his head. He was never going to skate again,” Karen Backes said.

Mom Karen Backes recalls a little boy who has always played hard. He was a 4.0 electrical engineering student while playing college hockey in Mankato and rose to become an NHL All-Star and Olympian.

“So we’ve had amazing opportunities to experience NHL hockey at its best,” she said.

At Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Backes photos and jerseys are on the walls. But being the mother of a Blues star can be tough, especially when your cheering section is smothered in a sea of Wild green.

“Last game we were head to toe in Blues outfits did get quite a bit of ribbing,” she said.

In the offseason, David still comes back home to help with youth summer camps. He’s giving back to a game that’s given the Backes family so much pride.

Karen says a lot of friends obviously have a split allegiance and she’s taking a lot of good natured ribbing. But it’s tough when your co-workers goad her on by putting up Wild posters on her cubicle.

Bill Hudson