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  • Wild Welcome “Breezer” As Team Pup


    2018 was the year of the dog, both in the Chinese calendar, and in NHL public relations. Six NHL teams adopted puppies last season, following the Winnipeg Jets’ lead, who assigned three black lab puppies to their security team in 2017. But where most of these doggy draft selections might have been happy-go-lucky stories assigned to the “before we leave you tonight” portion of local television newscasts, the St. Louis Blues’ Labrador retriever Barclay took things to a whole new level.

    He was a viral sensation with his appearance at a Blues practice:

    He was forwarded on for Doc Emrick, where the two mixed it up in the corner (my goodness!):

    And he led the successful charge into the battle for the ultimate dog dish, the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

    And since hockey seems to be one of the most superstitious sports around, the Minnesota Wild looked to get a leg up (or four) on their competition for the 2019-20 season.

    Enter, “Breezer.”

    The scouting report on Breezer (great name, by the way), is that he is a 12-week-old Labrador Retriever, which, on average, weigh about 15-20 pounds at his current age, but is likely to fill out his frame during his time in training camp. Most scouts (including dogs named “Scout”) see him eventually as an elite-level service animal, as at the end of his stint with the Wild, Breezer will be matched up with a “Battle Buddy,” a military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Fans who want to meet the newest Wild acquisition can shake... shaaake... erm, shake paws with Breezer at the Minnesota State Fair on August 26th from 2-3 p.m., August 28th from 10-11 a.m., and August 30th from 10-11 a.m. at the Wild Booth (dates and times subject to change, and puppy naps). If you miss him there, the Wild announced that Breezer will be making appearances at most Wild home games, and you can keep up on all his activities by following “mnwildpup” on Instagram and Twitter.

    During the run-up to training camp, we at Hockey Wilderness have been sizing up the competition, figuring out where the Wild rank against their competitors. So, in terms of puppy prowess, where does Breezer rank against the other hockey hounds?


    Team: St. Louis Blues

    Breed: Labrador Retriever

    Year signed: 2018

    Name origin: Barclay Plager, former Blues captain

    Professional Projection: Assistance Dog through Duo

    Stanley Cups directly responsible for: 1


    Team: New York Rangers

    Breed: Labrador Retriever

    Year signed: 2018

    Name origin: Team name

    Professional Projection: Autism Service Dog


    Team: Montreal Canadians

    Breed: Labernese

    Year signed: 2018

    Name origin: A burning torch (flambeau), symbol of team history

    Professional projection: Service dog through Mira


    Team: Ottawa Senators

    Breed: Black Labrador

    Year signed: 2018

    Name origin: Fan vote

    Professional Projection: Seeing-eye dog for Canadian National Institute for the Blind


    Team: New York Islanders

    Breed: Labrador Retriever

    Year signed: 2018

    Name origin: Named after Isles coach Al “Radar” Arbour

    Professional Projection: Seeing-eye dog through the Guide Dog Foundation


    Team: Washington Capitals

    Breed: Labrador Retriever

    Year signed: 2018

    Name origin: Named by owner

    Professional projection: Service dog


    Team: Winnipeg Jets

    Breed: Black Labrador

    Year signed: 2017

    Name origin: Fan vote, named after superfan Lenny Kropiosk, who died in 2016

    Linemates: Dante, Daisy, Grace, Ryp

    Professional projection: Bomb-sniffing/security team for the Jets

    Mike Moodano

    Team: Dallas Stars

    Breed: Unknown, perhaps Australian Cattle mix?

    Date signed: April 1, 2019

    Name origin: Unclear, but probably stolen from Minnesota

    Professional Projection: General Manager of the Minnesota Wild

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