By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is always interesting to see the local connections come up to the Minnesota Wild.

There are several, including defenseman Mike Reilly. He has been up and down, and he is learning — and he carries with him a sense of Wild history.

Reilly does not have to look far for advice. There are his former Minnesota Gopher hockey teammates: Eric Haula and Matt Dumba.

“[Dumba has] been great, you know. Fun personality, works really hard,” Reilly said. “He’s been good to me.”

That is what he looks for — a little guidance.

“It’s cool because, you know, me and Mikey are best of friends as well. You know, we’re around the same age. It’s fun going through this process together,” Dumba said. “I’ve been through what he’s going through now.”

Before Reilly played for the Gophers, he was growing up Wild. He remembers the players, and his favorite moment — when Andrew Brunette scored in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche to win Game 7 of the 2003 NHL Playoffs.

“I can probably name the majority of the Wild players that have, you know, came through here of the past 10 years,” Reilly said.

Reilly wants to be an example to some young hockey hopeful. He will get there through hard work.

“Learning new things every single day, and just trying to build your game each and every day,” Reilly said. “A young guy like me, you know, just trying to learn things from different guys, whether it’s their habits in practice.”

The Wild face the Stars on their home turf Friday night in Game 5 of the first round of the NHL Playoffs. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m.

Mike Max