In a move out of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s book (minus the vitriol and Comic Sans font), Minnesota owner Craig Leipold issued a letter to Wild fans discussing the signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million deals.
Rather than post Leipold’s entire missive, I’ll highlight the interesting parts:
He acknowledged the team’s been lousy lately
The Wild haven’t made the playoffs in four years — coincidentally, Leipold bought the team four years ago — and last year was just the third time in franchise history the Wild had more losses than wins.
“Long story short …things didn’t work out the way I expected,” Leipold wrote. “Issues in and out of our control went south, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge we have struggled.”
There were pricier offers on the table
“I know they both had numerous, attractive offers (some higher than ours),” the Minnesota owner wrote.
Given that Parise and Suter signed for $98 million, it’s safe to assume someone — or some teams — offered nine digits.
Minnesota had a secret weapon
No, it wasn’t the ability to spend $196 million dollars. Leipold said it’s something more much
precious than that.
I felt like we had a “secret weapon” working in our favor during these negotiations…the spirit and dedication of you fans of the State of Hockey. It’s no secret that both Zach and Ryan have strong ties to this area. They’ve had first-hand experience with the extraordinary pride and unrelenting passion of our fans. Ultimately,
I firmly believe that you fans were the deciding factor in their decision.
A little corny, but hey. It’s July 4th and the Wild just pulled off a coup.
Chuck Fletcher deserves a ton of credit
Leipold wrote the cheques, but it was clear more than money was required to finalize the deals (especially since both *allegedly* left cash on the table.) The Wild owner praised his GM’s “ambitious plan” and is “extremely proud” of the work Fletcher and his group did in landing Parise and Suter.
In closing — this was a big day for the state of Minnesota.
Soak it in, Wild fans.