NR squirts relish chance to hold flags at Wild game
When the New Richmond Squirt B hockey team got the chance to sell tickets to a Minnesota Wild game as part of a fundraiser, it did such a good job that the promotional department decided to give four skaters from the team the chance of a lifetime.
It just so happened that the Wild were holding an Olympic ceremony during the pre-game of the team’s Feb. 6 game against the Nashville Predators and the organization needed four players to skate out onto the ice and hold the American, Canadian, Finnish and Swiss flags. The ceremony was meant to honor the players from the two teams, who were going to play for their home country during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“When we were asked to supply four kids, we couldn’t help but say yes,” said Teresa De Young, who is the mother of Kadyn Campeau, one of the four skaters chosen to skate with a flag during the ceremony. “The head coach nominated four of the boys on the team to skate with the flags and those kids were over the moon. I think they realized what an honor it was to get to do that and that it was a once in a lifetime experience for them. They were super excited.”
The skaters chosen, along with Campeau, who held the American flag, were Xavier Coolidge, who held the Canadian flag, Caden McDonald, who held the Finnish flag, and Tyler Lewis, who held the Swiss flag.
The ceremony opened with the Wild flag bearer taking a lap around the ice first, but then the four New Richmond Squirts, who range in age from 9- to 10-years-old, followed him onto the ice and performed a flying-V from behind the Wild net before lining up on the red line for the National Anthem.
“I think the kids really understood the magnitude of the event and were taken aback by the experience,” De Young said. “They wanted to do perfectly.”
After the National Anthem, the players skated around some more before the Olympians lined up next to the flag of their home country for the short ceremony the Wild put on to honor the players who would make the trip to Sochi and represent their countries.
“We got a lot of pictures and took some video of it too,” De Young said. “The kids were also excited to talk to the players who stood by them. It was mostly ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ kind of stuff, but the kids also got to wish them good luck. They were just on Cloud 9 afterwards. They did not stop smiling all night long.”
As part of the deal, the kids also got to stay and watch the game, which ended in dramatic fashion with the Wild winning in overtime to give the team a boost headed into the Olympic break.
“The kids really liked getting to see the game go into overtime and the Wild win it,” De Young said. “The kids are still reeling from the experience even after a few days. It also really put them in the spirit to watch the Olympics over the next few weeks. My son is so into it that he wants to watch it early when it is live instead of on tape-delay.”
The Olympic men’s ice hockey championship game is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23, while the third-place game will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22. The Wild are back on the ice on Feb. 27, when they face off against the Edmonton Oilers.