By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minnesota, hockey isn’t just a game, it’s a way of life. And the love for the game goes beyond the ice. That’s why the Minnesota Wild support the people and programs who support them.

WCCO special correspondent Carly Zucker sat down with Whitecaps player Taylor Turnquist, who’s also the girlfriend of Nico Sturm. She shared how the players’ wives and girlfriends lead the mission to give back.

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Carly Zucker: First of all, I want to talk about the Winter Classic. As a hockey player, you’re a former hockey player, talk about what it means to see a Winter Classic again, to see it as a hockey player, through their eyes.

Taylor Turnquist: Yeah, it’s so exciting that it’s here in Minnesota, you know, growing up playing hockey in Minnesota, you, you look forward to hockey day Minnesota and watching that Winter Classic on on TV. So now to have it here in Minnesota and being able to go to the game at Target Field, it’s just, it’s so exciting.

Zucker: What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to, like, if you could pinpoint the one thing you’re excited about, besides the cold? (It’s gonna be very cold.)

Turnquist: I know, I was just gonna say, you know, I’m just excited to bundle up and be outdoors. That’s one of my favorite hockey memories growing up is playing on outdoor rink. So just getting all bundled bundled up and headed out to Target Field, that’s, that’s just the most exciting for me.

Zucker: I want to talk about the Wild Foundation and the work that the women behind the men, right next to the men in front of the men, we like that better, the work that you guys do, because it’s really important to the community. And I think you guys have a unique platform to use with the wild foundation. So talk about since you’ve been a part of the organization, what you’ve done.

Turnquist: Yeah, I definitely think that, you know, these women don’t get enough credit for all that they do. And in around our community, you know, they, they’re always looking for a way to give back and, you know, help those in our community. And so when I found out that the decorating the Christmas tree, the profits went to the Special Olympics, that’s just like a close community. For me. I do work in special education. So these kids in that population, it just they have a soft spot in my heart. We did some other things like just you know, making tied blankets for Children’s Hospital and that kind of thing. And, and even just girls always looking for more opportunities, you know, texting in the group, about where they can adopt a family for the holidays, and give back that way.

Zucker: So I want to hear about the relationship of the girlfriends and wives on the team because that makes a big difference as well. And you were talking about how you message each other about the things that you can do. Talk about the relationships, you guys have the culture of the wives and girlfriends and how that inspires you to get back.

Turnquist: It’s so awesome. You know, we really are one big family. You know, I’m fortunate enough to have my, my close family here in Minnesota. It’s where I’m from, but you know, most of the girls are from all over the place. And so everybody has each other’s back. And I think when we come together as a group, the things that we can do to you know, change the lives of those around us. It’s pretty incredible and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

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Some of the teams the Wild Foundation partners with will take part in the Winter Classic. The NHL made some small rinks in the outfield for them to skate on during intermissions.