The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 25, 2014

Minnesota Wild fans holla for Haula (video)

Team's annual road tour makes Mankato stop

When it comes to hockey in the Mankato area, the term "favorite Gopher" might be an oxymoron.

But Erik Haula, a former University of Minnesota player who is now a budding star forward with the Minnesota Wild, has won over fans around the south-central part of the state.

For a video of the event, click here

"Legendary," 13-year-old Jarrett Miller said during the Wild's Wells Fargo Road Tour stop at All Seasons Arena. "I just met one of my idols. I always liked him, even before he was with the Wild. He's the only Gopher I actually liked."

For another video of the event, click here

Several hundred people showed up to Wednesday's event, collecting autographs from and taking photos with Haula, teammate Stephane Veilleux, Wild alumnus Antti Laaksonen and TV play-by-play announcer Anthony LaPanta. The Wild donated signed Haula and Veilleux jerseys and a team-signed stick to the Mankato Area Hockey Association.

The 23-year-old Haula received the bulk of the attention in the wake of the Wild's recent postseason run

As an NHL rookie, he played in just 46 regular-season games, scoring six goals and 15 points. But he stood out in the playoffs with four goals and seven points in 13 games.

"We're big Wild fans; we watch all the games," said Myles Ching, who drove to Mankato from Sioux Falls, S.D., with his brother, Brandon, and their friend Michael Kayser. "Haula was my favorite Gopher, so I wanted to come here and see him, too."

Grayson Gavin, a senior at Mankato East, recently returned from Finland where he was an exchange student for the last 11 months. He had Haula, a native of Finland, sign a Finnish Olympic jersey, and the two spoke Finnish with each other for a bit.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Goodell backs Rice ban Andre Reed reflects on Hall of Fame Man with no arms throws first pitch Wade supports LeBron's decision Dombrowski on bringing David Price to Detroit How the MLB Trade Deadline Will Affect the Postseason Steelers feeling a sense of urgency in camp Reaction to Ray Rice's comments Marshawn Lynch Ends Holdout - @TheBuzzeronFOX 5 things I think I think about the Atlanta Falcons Paul Breitner: We're sure Julian Green will be a great player for Bayern Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Morosi: Tigers pick up Price from Rays Rice intends to become advocate of domestic violence with wife Janay when time is right Ray Rice issues apology for his part in a domestic violence incident A's Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes Price on dealing with trade rumors Arian Foster Answers Questions With Same Boring Answer - @TheBuzzeronFox Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Cardinals make Peterson highest paid CB