2003 NHL Playoffs 2003 NHL Playoffs

'This is our sport'

Fans going crazy for Wild's surprising postseason run

Posted: Friday May 09, 2003 11:21 AM
Updated: Friday May 09, 2003 5:53 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild hadn't even finished off the Canucks in Vancouver Thursday night before fans began lining up inside Xcel Energy Center in pursuit of tickets for the Western Conference finals.

The Wild's historic comeback from a second consecutive 3-1 series deficit stirred the fans so much that they had to be moved away from Shrine Circus animals at the arena for shows Friday through Sunday. Arena officials worried that the fans were scaring the animals.

With Game 1 set for Saturday, the Ducks -- the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, that is -- are in, and the animals are out.

Neil Alexander, 20, was in line hoping to get hockey tickets for himself and his dad. Alexander fondly recalled the days his father took him to North Stars games.

"If I can't get them here, I'd pay up to $500 from scalpers," Alexander said. "I just want to take my dad to a game."

Several people in line said they'd hoped to see the Wild play Dallas -- the relocated North Stars -- in the playoffs. But with the Stars eliminated early, some fans said they didn't mind a chance to beat up on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks as payback for the Anaheim Angels' elimination of the Minnesota Twins in last year's American League Championship Series.

"Redemption with Anaheim would be sweet," said Greg Paul, 20, a roofer from Cottage Grove. "This is our sport."

The Wild said about 1,000 tickets were available for each playoff game. The fans who showed up Thursday night at Xcel didn't have to stay overnight -- the team took names and had a plan to hand out wristbands to permit ticket-buying Friday morning -- but some people did anyway.

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