ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild are at home Thursday night, squaring off against the New York Islanders.
It’s a match-up that features a lot of Minnesota-made talent. Seven players the Wild and Islanders are carrying Minnesota pride.
Safe to say, this is Anders Lee’s favorite road trip of the season.
“For sure, I mean it’s always nice to come home. You come home and you go through your old routine, and see all your old friends and stuff like that. Nothing beats home. That’s for sure,” Lee said.
But he’s far from the only one feeling that way.
Of the six Americans on the Islanders’ roster, three of them are from right here in Minnesota. Brock Nelson of Warroad, Nick Leddy of Eden Prairie and Anders Lee of Edina.
“We’ve kind of always had three or four guys here on the Islanders, but every team seems to have some Minnesota connection,” Lee said.
That’s true, the Islanders do have a large Minnesota contingent. But really, that’s true league-wide. There were 37 Minnesota natives on NHL opening night rosters this season, from 29 different Minnesota communities. Twenty one of the 31 NHL teams have at least one Minnesotan.
“You go from town to town or city to city, everyone’s really tight-knit and it says a lot about the people that live here and how we grow up and take pride in being called the State of Hockey and stuff like that, so I think it’s just a combination of good history and tradition and good people,” Lee said.
Minnesota pride… nation-wide. And, right here. For their part, the Wild have four Minnesota natives – Zach Parise, Matt Cullen, Alex Stalock and Mike Reilly — which is tied for the league high.