Even though training camp for the Minnesota Wild hasn’t officially began yet, highly sought after prospect Mikael Granlund is already making headlines. We saw his flashy puck handling skills on display when he was playing for the Houston Aeros when the NHL lockout was on and now he’s gaining superstar status in Minnesota without having played a single game for the Wild.
All the hype is warranted as it followed him overseas from his playing days in his home country of Finland. Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press has the story of how Granlund’s legendary status grew in Helsinki, Finland where he spent the last three seasons as a teenager, playing against men. And doing exceptionally well at it, I might add thanks to goals that continue to get replayed around the country. One particular goal that Granlund scored is featured on a postage stamp. How many 19-year old hockey players can boast about that?
The soon to be 20-year old described to Brothers what it was like back home; how he couldn’t walk down the street without having a mob of fans seeking autographs or snapping pictures of the young phenom. How did he handle all the fame? Like a mature veteran who’s been dealing with it for years according to Brothers.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I just play hockey and try to enjoy my life.”
Brothers went on to mention that Granlund enjoyed his time in Houston because he could walk down the street without anyone noticing him or who he was. Something he’s looking forward to in Minnesota, at least that’s what he told Brothers. Maybe someone should tell Granlund that hockey in Houston is a tad different than hockey in Minnesota.
In Texas, hockey is a sport that is well behind football (most notably high school), baseball, basketball and Nascar; and that’s at the NHL level. For the Aeros, life in the AHL is almost non-existent when it comes to the Texas sporting map so naturally Granlund would enjoy the serenity of playing hockey in the Lone Star state.
But in Minnesota, life will be drastically different for Granlund, especially when he starts scoring the highlight reel goals that he’s so capable of doing.
Once the legend of Mikael Granlund grows, it won’t be long before he won’t be able to go out in public without being noticed. Young children will stop him on the street asking for autographs, while the female gender will smile all so conspicuously. Yes, his status around Wild country will change and already there is talk of him being the second line center for the Wild. That in itself would be an accomplishment for Granlund.
For now he just wants to get through his first NHL training camp where he knows he belongs and will stick around for the long haul. Minnesota Wild fans will have the pleasure of watching him develop and mature in front of our eyes and it won’t be long before we’ll be saying, there goes Mikael Granlund, Minnesota’s latest superstar. Something he’s already used to, something that seems only fitting.