By: Bryan Vickroy
The Minnesota Wild’s equipment van caught fire this afternoon in Ottawa. The van was returning to Scotiabank Place after the team practiced at the nearby Sensplex ice center. As it pulled into the parking lot around 2:30pm EST, smoke was seen coming from the rear. All of the equipment was destroyed, and the fire department had to be called to put out the blaze. No one was injured however the team is left with a daunting challenge: finding equipment, uniforms, and other game necessities for everybody on the team before tomorrow night’s game with the Ottawa Senators.
Organization personnel are hurrying back to the Twin Cities to collect equipment to collect items from the Xcel Center and the teams practice rink, as the team also plays Monday night and Wednesday night. The team had a 5:00 meeting this evening to talk about the events and figure out a strategy. There is a possibility that tomorrow’s game could be cancelled, although at this time, the team has released a statement stating “Minnesota is scheduled to play at Ottawa Saturday at 6:00pm.” The fire is still under investigation, and no causes have yet been reported.
This could potentially turn into a very serious situation. Unlike equipment for most other sports, hockey equipment requires time to wear and form to your body. Months, if not years, are required to get something to feel just right. Rushing new equipment in will not only be stiff, inflexible, and bulky, but could also lead to injury as new equipment may not protect the same way as old goods. Skates are by far the worst of all, and knee, foot, and ankle injuries may occur at a higher rate without properly formed skates. Some of the player’s equipment might not even be in stock anymore. Goalie equipment is even worse. Potential Olympic starter Nikolas Backstrom will face a daunting task of breaking in brand new equipment on the fly.
After finally looking like the team has grasped the concept of new coach Todd Richard’s and are making a climb up the standings, this latest set back could leave the team reeling.