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WHERE ARETHEY NOW?Iowa Wild is now in its seventh seasonin central Iowa as the Minnesota Wild’sAmerican Hockey League franchise. Inthat time, fans have watched more than200 players wear the Wild sweater.CHAD RAU5STORY BY: TOM WITOSKY2013-2014Veteran winger Chad Rau was one of theoriginal members of the Wild who relocatedfrom Houston to Des Moines in 2013. Rau,who also played for Des Moines Buccaneersin the United States Hockey League, playedcenter for the Wild that first season. Sinceleaving Des Moines, Rau has played forhockey teams based in Finland (SM-Liiga),China (KHL), Russia (KHL), and Slovakia(KHL). Rau’s brother, Kyle, has playedthree seasons with Iowa. The elder Rau nowresides in Glasgow, Scotland, playing for theGlasgow Clan of the Elite Ice Hockey League.CHAD RAU #20Two of Iowa’s most popular players in theteam’s inception were Chad Rau and MarcHagel. The Wild Times caught up with bothplayers to find out what they’ve beendoing since leaving Des Moines.

Q: Why did you decide to play hockey inGlasgow, Scotland?A: I had always wanted to play in the UK at somepoint during my career. I had heard good thingsabout the team here and living in Scotland ingeneral. Also, most teams offer a chance topursue an MBA degree while playing and that wassomething that always interested me and had aninfluence on my decision to come here.Q: How does it compare to playing in theKHL or other European leagues?A: The KHL is a very skilled league with some highend players. The ice sheets are very big and puckpossession is a primary focus. The Elite League isa little more of a North American style of play withmore physicality and an emphasis on systems.Q: When you aren’t playing or practicing,how are you spending your time?A: I am currently in school studying to get my MBAdegree. Most of my free time is consumed withschoolwork. We also just had our third child overhere in Scotland and that’s been keeping us verybusy, but I enjoy spending free time with my kids.Q: You were one of the players whomoved with the team when it relocatedfrom Houston to Des Moines. What wasyour impression of Des Moines as anAHL city?A: I played for the Des Moines Buccaneers in2004-05 and coming back when the teamrelocated, it was impressive to see the growthof the city. It is a great city for an AHL team,especially for an affiliate of the Minnesota Wildwith the location being so close. The facilitiesand fan support were something that stood outto me in a positive way as well.Q: How much longer do you think you willplay hockey?A: I’m unsure of how much longer I will continueto play. My body still feels good, knock on wood.But my children are getting older and we wantto establish some roots for them soon. It will besomething we talk about after the season as afamily and make a decision.I PLAYED FOR THE DES MOINES BUCCANEERSIN 2004-05 AND COMING BACK WHEN THETEAM RELOCATED, IT WAS IMPRESSIVE TOSEE THE GROWTH OF THE CITY. IT IS A GREATCITY FOR AN AHL TEAM66


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FROM GRASSROOTS TO GAMEDAYSTORY BY: TOM WITOSKYAs the Iowa Wild hockey team boardedan airplane destined for a 10-day roadtrip in January, the Wild’s other teamgathered for its weekly meeting to goover game plans for the next five homegames.Allie Brown, the Wild’s Senior Directorof Marketing and Creative Services,and members of the Wild’s variousbusiness departments spent the next75 minutes talking about marketing,social media, communications, ticketsales, sponsorship opportunities andconcert management in preparation forthe hockey team’s return to Wells FargoArena.“We’ve got a lot of work coming up,”Brown told the group. “We are in prettygood shape, but there is still a lot to getdone.”Todd Frederickson, the Wild’s Presidentand chief architect of the franchise’ssuccess in central Iowa, sat nearby tohelp Brown and add his own insightsrelated to how this 31-member squadshould approach the heaviest scheduleof home games during the 2019-20season.“I think we’ve done a good job of buildinga successful organization over the lastseven years because of the approach wehave taken,” Frederickson said after themeeting. “We have created a brand that11people are proud of. We’ve done a greatjob in the community. We’re growing thesport of hockey. Our approach has alwaysbeen as a team.”Frederickson and Brown, along withVice President of Sales Eric Grundfast,Senior Director of Broadcasting andTeam Services Joe O’Donnell and SeniorDirector of Ticket Operations Lisa Rothleinhave spent seven years pouring a solidfoundation for a sports franchise in acommunity that wasn’t shy in its skepticismof the Wild’s commitment to a long-termstay in central Iowa.“I think people were hesitant with theorganization coming in because they’dseen it before and now they were seeingit again,” Grundfast said. “We had to getthrough the first three years and still behere.”In 2013, Craig Leipold, the owner of theMinnesota Wild, decided to move theWE HAD TO GET THROUGHTHE FIRST THREE YEARSAND STILL BE HERE.

organization’s AHL franchise from Houstonto Iowa. The move was based mostly ongetting the Wild’s AHL prospects closer tothe NHL team’s home in St. Paul. The fourhour car ride between the two cities haseven spawned an axiom to players: “Theroad to St. Paul goes through Des Moines.”Team officials were also impressed withthe quality of Wells Fargo Arena and thefact Des Moines appeared to be a growingmid-sized city in need of more sportsentertainment.To corral Iowa hockey fans and establish thefranchise, Leipold hired Frederickson, whohad been working at the AHL headquartersas Vice President of Team Services and hadspent 10 years in the ticketing departmentwith the Chicago Wolves.When Frederickson and a small staff fromHouston arrived in June 2013, the beginningdays of the franchise were hectic, if notoutright chaotic. With little office furniture orsupplies, the staff went to work to get thefranchise up and running by October – notnearly enough time to do it adequately.“It was a whirlwind,” Grundfast remembered. “Ifsomeone had a good idea, they put it down ona scrap of paper and moved it along. We weredrawing up ticket packages and our sponsorshipprograms on scrap paper and then would handit off to our design team. That’s how crazy itwas in the first two months.”TEAM OFFICIALS WERE ALSOIMPRESSED WITH THE QUALITYOF WELLS FARGO ARENABrown remembers it just as vividly. “We didn’teven have desks at that point,” she said. “It wasworking through Minnesota to get computersfor everyone and phones set up. We didn’t havethe basics to get started, but we had to putsomething together to make it work in threemonths.”Frederickson had a plan and it was focusedon the long-term growth of a franchise. Healso received strong financial support fromMinnesota.“We’ve received the financial resources fromMinnesota to do great promotions, have greatentertainment at our games, and to be able tohire staff from around the country and have themall moved here,” Frederickson said. “Those arethe things that successful organizations have todo and, most times, minor league organizationscan’t afford to do that.”Plus, the business team had to begin theprocess of building a foundation at a time whenthe hockey side of the organization struggled.For three years, the team’s operation was lessthan stellar on the ice – finishing near or at thebottom of the division and Western Conference.Ironically, the team’s lack of success may havehelped the business side focus its efforts oninvolving the club in the community and makingeach game an enjoyable experience for familieslooking for a fun time on a winter’s night.2013 PREGAME PYROTECHNICS AT WELLS FARGO ARENA12

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The Greater Des Moines Partnership and Catch Des Moines have jointly launched the DSM Local Challenge toencourage Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents to support local businesses while practicing social distancingfrom the comfort of home during the COVID-19 pandemic.The rules are simple: Post a photo to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn to show how you support local small businesses.Tag three friends in your post to do the same.Use the verbiage “I support (name of business)” and the hashtag #DSMlocalchallenge.Cut and paste these instructions within your post.Some easy ideas for the DSM Local Challenge are ordering takeout or delivery from a local restaurant, purchasinggift cards from local retailers or restaurants online, purchasing season passes to our local attractions andmuseums, booking future services at salons and spas, taking advantage of professional development trainingsvirtually — and more! The ways to support local businesses safely from your home are endless.Learn more at geBOOK YOUR SPRING ANDSUMMER PARTIESCORPORATE MEETINGS & EVENTS PRIVATEPARTIES HOLIDAY PARTIES FAMILY REUNIONSWEDDINGS GRADUATION PARTIES & MORE

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When Marc Hagel retired from professionalhockey following last season, the former IowaWild forward moved as he did on the ice – quickly,aggressively and in unexpected directions.The 31-year-old Hamilton, Ont. native, whobecame a popular player in his 192 AHL games inIowa, moved into the financial world as a partnerin a day trading firm with former professionalhockey player James Sixsmith and then enrolledhimself in a chiropractic college in Ontario. Hislife is a busy one, but as a Princeton Universitygraduate and holder of a masters’ degree inpolitical science from Miami University - Ohio,Hagel has always liked an intellectual challengeas much as one on the ice.Q: Do you have any spare time these days?A: Oh man, pro hockey was a dream life. Coffee,rink, practice, Chipotle, then hang with the guysthe rest of the day. That was awesome. Now, Ibasically go to school all day, then study all nightand do investment work at night as well. So, abusy day.#29 MARC HAGEL 2013-2017Q: What prompted you to get intoinvestment work?A: We always dream about money and how tomake money and the two places to make moneyare in real estate and the markets. When I studiedat Princeton, I didn’t take any econ classes, Istudied politics instead. It always just felt a stoneunturned that I wanted to learn about. So whensomeone close to me and a teammate made anoffer to me it made sense to take it. I got to learnthe markets and learn day trading in the tradingworld.Q: What made you decide to retire?Q: And becoming a chiropractor?A: Every Thursday night in a men’s leaguewith my friends.A: Chiropractic comes back to hockey. WhenI was with the Wild and all through my collegeyears, I basically lived on the chiropractictable. The team chiropractor for the Wild isthe one that got me through the seasons. Asa result, I decided that that was something Iwanted to do.A: Honestly, I’d been away from home since Ileft for university and then all the years in prohockey and then overseas a couple of years.I was just looking to get home for a bit. WhenI’m done, I’ll probably end up taking off again.Q: Do you still have time to playhockey?Q: You were one of the members of theIowa Wild’s first roster. How much didyou enjoy your time in Des Moines?A: My hockey home was definitely in DesMoines. It is one of those undercover citiesthat has everything you need. It’s not too big,but it’s big enough to be a real metropolis. It’sgot great restaurants, great people. I mean,I loved it there.20

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ONLY ABOUT 20 PERCENT OF THEM KNEW THEOUTCOME. BUT THE OTHER 80 PERCENT KNEWTHEY HAD A REALLY GOOD TIME. AT THE END OFTHE DAY, THAT’S WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.“It changed our focus,” Brown said. “It became aboutthe community and telling their stories and getting ourplayers involved with the community. It was really aboutfocusing on what we could do for the community.”Two of the landmark programs were the establishmentof the franchise’s Wild About Reading program and theHealthy Living Floor Hockey program introduced to DesMoines area school districts.Grundfast remembers being told that school districtofficials might not be approachable to get involved in theprograms.“My first two weeks I spent meeting with everysuperintendent in the market and we talked about bothprograms,” he said. “The response was absolutelypositive once they saw how both programs representedour involvement in the community and how it supportedreading and health.”At the same time, the club also began to focus on the kindof entertainment that central Iowans enjoy both at hockeygames and generally.“During those first years, I would imagine if you polledfolks coming out of the arena, only about 20 percent ofthem knew the outcome,” Grundfast said. “But the other80 percent knew they had a really good time. At the endof the day, that’s what it is all about.”As a result, the club has worked diligently on its gamepresentation that features well-made videos, rockingmusic designed to get people on their feet dancing, andfocusing on getting fans to know players, often as part ofa sponsorship promotion.24In the process, the club has grown its attendance infive of its last six season, increased the number ofsponsorships purchased by central Iowa businesseslarge and small, and, like the coaching staff on thehockey side of the building, the team has developeda training program good enough to give around 20former employees their shot to work in the majors insales, communications and management.“We’ve had the success of training a number of peoplewho have gone to the majors in social media, ticketoperations, and management in Major League Baseball,the NFL, as well as the NHL,” Frederickson said, addinga recent opening for a new social media coordinatorimmediately drew 150 applications.Grundfast also points out that the staff doesn’t hearthe question they heard so much in the early days.Those ended, he said, when Minnesota announced notonly that the NHL Wild would play a preseason game inDes Moines but also announced a five-year extensionof the team’s lease with Wells Fargo Arena.“That night was a huge one and made us all feel we hadmade a big jump,” he said. “I haven’t been asked aboutthe team’s future here since.”

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HOCKEY IN THE COMMUNITYDuring the first half of the regular season, Iowa Wild players and team mascot, Crash, have made more than 40appearances in support of local organizations and causes.The team’s annual Celebrity Server event at 801 Chophouse (Jan. 16) saw a record amount of more than 10,000raised for The Outreach Program. Along with proceeds from the annual Wild on the Green Golf Outing (Sept. 30), theteam will contribute funding for 50,000 meals to be packaged at the upcoming Tame the Hunger event.The team, in conjunction with Wells Fargo, the City of Johnston and the City of Urbandale, built two new community icerinks in the respective cities, for public use open in winter 2019. These two new rinks increased the team’s communityrink total to seven locations throughout the central Iowa region. Players and team mascot, Crash, celebrated thesecommunity rinks with a ‘Community Rink Takeover’ on Feb. 1, joining the public for open skate sessions.More than 22,000 students are participating in the team’s Wild About Reading and Healthy Living Floor Hockeyprograms during the 2019-2020 school year. Each program provides materials to the schools free-of-cost toencourage fun, active learning and to promote the game of hockey throughout central Iowa.27


HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE WILD PLAYERS?ANSWERS ON PAGE 231. Gerry Mayhew won the Wild’s secondmonthy AHL award in January. Whoearned the first?a. Jason Zuckerb. Kaapo Kahkonenc. Cal O’Reillyd. Tyler Graovac2. Which former Iowa Wild player is currentlyNOT playing in the KHL?a. Zack Mitchellb. Ryan Murphyc. CJ Motted. Steve Michalek3. Which player, who this season signed acontract with Iowa, is the only player in ECHLhistory to be named playoff MVP?a. Matt Registerb. Josh Atkinsonc. Turner Ottenbreitd. Patrick McGrath4. Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen this seasonpassed which goaltender for most wins inteam history?a. Andrew Hammondb. Alex Stalockc. Steve Michalekd. Niklas Svedberg5. The Wild set a record in January formost wins in a single month with howmany victories?29a. 6b. 7c. 8d. 96. How many community rinks does the Wildand Wells Fargo have in Central Iowa?a. 4b. 5c. 6d. 77.True or False: The Wild have set a newrecord for goals in a single season each ofthe last three years?a. Trueb. False8.When the Wild broke the organization’s attendancerecord, how many were in the crowd?a. 12,272b. 12,799c. 13,213d. 13,5039. Which two players share a birthdayexactly 15 years apart?a. Matt Bartkowski and Brandon Duhaimeb. Mike Liambas and Mason Shawc. Cody McLeod and Connor Deward. Gabriel Dumont and Will Bitten10.Which AHL organization announced next seasonit will be relocating to Henderson, NV?a. Stockton Heatb. San Antonio Rampagec. Chicago Wolvesd. Charlotte Checkers

KidsCornerWordCan youfind allSearchthe words below?J Z DL N FL P FU L CN V SWH EI N NN V UC DHCWSA K OJ S EVMQI C IU R Eertimemboniym3330WinPuckIcingP R F I HH R GUJ P U E ONQ I OK UO V RWK J NO C U VM S A J UV K H F H T KWZE O L GMO E A IR C Z P Q R N A TT J A L Z ON E MI I MA F H E T QMB B Y J MK Q RE S O E F K Z J CF MN R C K N A KR L I S HO C K ENG P T Q T C E LI E DMZ U T S MIowa WildSkatesHat sstickrinkPlaywith afriend!

12Fill in the crossword usingthe picture clues!DOWN341.3.ACROSS2.4.Help Crash find hisway to the goal!Unscramble the words below!ckitslhtmeercahsbianmozokcyeheic31oiaw ldiweblu neilksteasmeta34

WE ARE A MINOR LEAGUE TEAM, BUTTHERE’S NO REASON WHY WE NEED TOTREAT OUR FANS LIKE THEY’RE MINORLEAGUE FANS, SO WE ARE CREATING ABRAND WHERE THEY CAN BE PROUD OF IT.Frederickson said the effort, which also has includedbig events such as that Minnesota-St. Louis NHLpreseason game in 2018, the Iowa Hockey Daysoutdoor 3-on-3 tournament in 2017, and variouspost-game concerts, have focused on a majorcharacteristic of central Iowans. “They love bigevents,” Frederickson said. “And that’s what we wantto provide as much as we can.”High on the list is the possibility of an outdoor hockeygame in Des Moines, possibly at Drake Stadium. Inaddition, other ideas are bounced off staffers almostdaily.“We are a minor league team, but there’s no reasonwhy we need to treat our fans like they’re minorleague fans,” Frederickson said. “So we are creatinga brand where they can be proud of it. They can besupportive of it, but everything we do has to lookprofessional. We’ve made good progress, but thereis still more work to do.”34


IOWA WILD RINK TAKEOVERSince the organization arrived in Des Moines, Iowa Wild made a committedeffort to grow the sport of hockey through grassroot initiatives. A hallmark ofthat mentality is the organization’s community rink initiative.Iowa Wild and Wells Fargo announced the first community rink in Decemberof 2016, which was located in West Des Moines at Raccoon River Park. Thefollowing year, the two organizations announced rinks located in Ankeny andWaukee. Last season, Ames and Indianola received community rinks, pushingthe number of facilities in the area to five. With the addition of Johnston andUrbandale this season, the Wild and Wells Fargo now bring that number toseven community rinks for the region.This past winter, Wild players and Crash descended onto five of thosecommunity rinks to skate with fans, continuing the partnership between theteam and its fans. These are just some of the photos from the event, whichcould become another staple community initiative for the organization.38#41 JOSH ATKINSON


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