The Minnesota Wild fan-base has been recognised as the 5th best in the National Hockey League; only the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins are ranked higher among American fan-bases. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens find themselves higher, but that’s not unexpected.
FanSided released their annual ranking of all fan-bases across sports and entertainment and far from seeing the Minnesota Wild as a small fish in a big pond (or several ponds as is the case in Minnesota!), the fans have been seen among the higher echelons of fan-bases in the league.
At 74th overall, the Minnesota Wild sit directly between the New York Giants in 75th and Alex Ovechkin in 73rd.
It might seem a bit obtuse that a singular NHL player can rank higher than an NHL team, given hockey is so often talked about as a game of the team and not the individual, but few would argue the impact that the ‘Great 8’ has had upon the game, particularly in his native Russia.
In the NHL itself, it’s hard to compete with the history of the ‘Original Six’, so it’s wholly understand able too to see Montreal, Boston and Toronto sitting higher; the Washington Capitals are likely pumped to a slightly higher position given their status as the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
The Fandom 250 talks of the proud moment during which fans of the Minnesota Wild chose not to focus on their upcoming play-off opening game, rather focusing on signing a banner for the stricken Humboldt community.
As the article states it was a small gesture, but I think it talks most to the absolute passion for hockey in the Minnesota community. It also mentions the ‘pond hockey’ culture in the state and how that reflects in the fan’s dedication to their team.
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I think it’s safe to say that Minnesota might as well be a Canadian market sometimes, such is the breadth of hockey playing and passion for the game in the ‘State of Hockey’. Ranking the team above all but the two most historic Canadian fan-bases shows that this is recognised by FanSided.
The death of Robert O. Naegele Jr. obviously hurt the fan-base greatly, but he will not be forgotten anytime soon. He was the man who brought hockey back to the state, a state that felt abandoned when the North Stars were relocated to Dallas.
His loss upset the fan-base, but they believed in his vision and still show it to this day; the Minnesota Wild tend to sell-out the building night after night.
I think the ranking of the Wild has to be seen as fair; if the Minnesota Wild can create something akin to the Winnipeg Jets’ ‘white-out’ or Calgary’s ‘C of Red’ come the play-offs (which they’ll hopefully head to for a seventh consecutive run), then it’s fair to say you could see the team pushing higher on the list come next year.
All in all, there’s not much more you can say – the Minnesota Wild fans are great and they have been recognised. That’s a win in itself!