"If you aren't
happy with the pro team," says Wild assistant coach Mike Ramsey, who is
from Minneapolis and played for the University of Minnesota, "you say, 'I'm
going to a high school game. I'm going to see the [Minnesota] Gophers. I'm
going to St. Cloud [State, a Division I program an hour from the Twin
What further sets
a Buffalo-sized city apart from, say, Buffalo, is its growth potential. Mark
Jorgensen, executive director of Minnesota Hockey, which oversees the game at
the amateur level in the state, says girls' hockey, which accounted for 14.6%
of youth players in 1998--99, is up to 21.5%.
"If you go to
a rink now, there's a good chance there'll be girls on the ice," Risebrough
says. "Years from now I think you'll find lots of mothers with their sons
and daughters at our games because this is what they did."
Expect no less in
St. Paul, America's new Hockeytown.