WILD WELCOME: Fans Ready For Hockey’s Return

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The AHL gave Des Moines a try with the Iowa Stars, and then again with the Iowa Chops, but neither team lasted more than a few years. Hockey fans say this time, with the Wild coming to town, it will be different.

For people who aren't hockey fans, just hearing that the Wild are coming to Des Moines might not be enough to get them in the seats, but they say unique promotions or deals could.

“I think that the toughest thing for me, being somebody who`s not a big hockey fan, to get me at something like an event might be promotions or it might be you know things that they do game day, the team wise,” said Collin Taylor.

“I think that if you have evenings where you know where you have promotional things in conjunction with maybe a restaurant in town, so if you stop here first then you get to go to the game and there’s some perk there to it, that it`ll be fun,” suggested Leah Gerstel.

Some local businesses, like Buzzard Billy’s in Des Moines are already in that frame of mind. They say they hope to have special events and make it a whole experience rather than just a game.

“We want to have special events, we want to do things with them, and have everyone have a really great time out on the town and not just go to a hockey game,” said Joseph Tinker, the restaurant manager.

That local enthusiasm could be the difference this time around. But after both the Stars and Chops left town, it's not something that's going to be left to chance.

“I’ve always been a little skeptical because of our history that we`ve had, but this is like night and day,” said Tom Hockensmith  with the Polk County Board of Supervisors, “ I think Minnesota and their organization will do a lot more marketing of the team than we`ve had in the past.” It's that commitment, and outlook, that Hockensmith said will be what fills the seats.

Hockensmith said they weren't searching for this opportunity, it more or less found them. He says it also could be the "push" the area needs for some more entertainment development like bars and restaurants.