MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild honored the memory of Jacob Wetterling at Saturday night’s season home opener.

The Wild faced off against the Winnipeg Jets at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. The team honored the Wetterling family before the game with jerseys that displayed the number 11 in honor of Jacob.

Wetterling was kidnapped from his home town of St. Joseph 27 years ago. Wetterling’s remains were found just last month.

Eager fans delighted in a brand new season as they tailgated before the game.

“It is so exciting because I am such a die-hard fan,” Machaela Schreiber said.

But before the Wild game began, there was a reminder of virtues a boy named Jacob Wetterling who played goalie would have wanted everyone to hold true, on and off the ice. Director of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, Kari Christenson expressed gratitude on behalf of the Wetterling family.

“His family really had a lot of people reaching out and asking how they can help and their model for everybody is just to be kind, be generous, be thoughtful, be a good friend, and a good sport,” Christenson said.

Even the opposing team all the way from Winnipeg honored Jacob. Every helmet on the ice showed the number 11, after traits Jacob showed in his short 11 years of life; the type that can unite rivals.

“Obviously the folks from Winnipeg aren’t from here so it probably isn’t a story that holds as true as it does for Minnesotans,” Christenson said. “But their support and knowing they’re in it for kids and a great community where kids can be safe and play beyond the driveway means.”

Zach Parise who is number 11 for the Wild and his wife Alisha also made an $11,000 donation to the Jacob Wetterling Foundation tonight.

Parise is a Minnesota native.


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