Despite capacity limits, Wild fans eager to cheer on team during playoff run
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As the Minnesota Wild return to St. Paul in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, fans are excited for the opportunity to cheer them on at home.
"The energy level in this building is just such fun," said Kathy Gosiger, general manager at Tom Reid’s in St. Paul.
Any hockey fan knows Tom Reid’s is a popular spot during the playoffs.
"I was here on Tuesday as well, and it was nice just being able to cheer every time a goal was scored," said Jaron Cook, a Wild fan from St. Paul.
"It’s just so great to see all of their fans walking up and down the street, the energy level for the city, it means a lot," Gosinger said.
With just 25% capacity and 4,500 fans inside the Xcel Energy Center, that means places like Tom Reid’s can benefit.
"It means we have a full house, we’re making money, everyone’s having a great time and we’re supporting the team," Gosinger said.
"There’s still folks that can’t get a ticket, who want to experience the atmosphere of watching a game," said John Maher, Wild senior brand advisor.
Maher says they partnered with several bars and restaurants this year to offer free giveaways for fans.
"We’re encouraging fans to support those bars and restaurants that are just coming back from the pandemic," Maher said. "You’ll get kind of that playoff feel even though we’re limited in the building."
Inside the Xcel Energy Center, playoff branding is everywhere, and the team says even when these seats are filled in a limited fashion, it makes a big difference.
"(About) 2,500 to 3,000 fans in here sounded pretty loud, and so we expect the fans are going to be at a playoff amp level as well, so they’re going to make it pretty loud in here," Maher said.
Whether it’s inside the arena or at a local bar or restaurant, fans are ready for the playoffs to return to the State of Hockey.
"Let’s just bring it home, see a win, get the excitement level going up here in St. Paul," Cook said. "I’d love to see it."
The Wild say if they advance to the next round, they will be able to expand their fan capacity.