DENVER – Goalie Devan Dubnyk won’t be the only player representing the Wild at the NHL All-Star Game.
Winger J.T. Brown will also be in San Jose on Thursday through Saturday to take part in the league’s gaming house experience.
“It seems like a fun event, and hopefully this is the first of many,” Brown said.
An avid gamer, Brown was invited to showcase his skills on “NHL 19” along with a handful of other prominent names in the e-sports world in what’s being called House of Chel — the first event of its kind by the NHL.
Aside from battling with their controllers, the participants will also compete in challenges at the multimillion-dollar mansion in the hills of Palo Alto, Calif., that’s hosting the event. The home includes an ice rink, golf course, movie theater, sports court, pizza room and turf field.
“Pretty excited to just see it and be able to stay there for a few days,” Brown said, “but also meet some other content creators and other players who are pretty good at the game of NHL. I wouldn’t say that’s my best game that I have, but I still think it’ll be fun to get out there and obviously make content.”
The trade that brought defenseman Brad Hunt to the Wild didn’t just reunite him with Minnesota after he played four seasons at Bemidji State.
It also put him in the same organization as his former Beavers teammate Matt Read, a forward currently with Iowa of the American Hockey League who appeared in five games with the Wild this season as a call-up.
“He FaceTimed me [Monday] night actually,” said Hunt, who made his Wild debut Wednesday against the Avalanche on the left side of Jonas Brodin. “Me and Matt are really close. Obviously, I was at school with him for three years and we had that special run to the Frozen Four. He’s a great kid, and I have a lot of respect for him and we’ve created quite a bond over the last couple years being from Bemidji, where not a lot of guys have gone pro. I think a lot of people back in Bemidji are proud of us, too, and I think it’s a pretty cool thing.”
This week has been a trip down memory lane for Jason Zucker.
After playing Monday in Las Vegas, where he grew up, the winger was at his alma mater — the University of Denver — for the Wild’s practice Tuesday.
“It was fun,” Zucker said. “It was a great place. It was a great place for me to go to school. I absolutely loved it there.”
Zucker caught up with some familiar faces, visiting with equipment managers and head coach David Carle, who was a student assistant coach when Zucker was with the program from 2010-12. In two seasons, Zucker tallied 45 goals and 91 points in 78 games.
“I have nothing but great memories about that place,” Zucker said.
The eight-day break is coming at a helpful time for new members of the Wild, allowing them the chance to get settled into the Twin Cities and return to their previous homes to tie up loose ends.
Center Victor Rask will return to Carolina where he has an apartment he purchased a few years ago. He plans to hold onto the property for now and potentially rent it out to Hurricanes players.
“I’m probably not going to bring too much with me,” he said. “… Packed a big bag the first day I came.”
Center Eric Fehr (lower-body injury) didn’t suit up Wednesday, but the veteran is hoping to be back in the lineup Feb. 1 when the team resumes action against the Stars in Dallas.
“Feeling really good,” he said. “I’ve felt a lot better the last couple days, and I’m happy where my body is at now.”
Fehr has been out since he was hurt Jan. 7, falling to the ice after he hit his head on the boards following a late check. He wanted to return before the layoff but also appreciated the extra time to prepare.
“I’ll try to stay in shape over the break a little more than the other guys,” Fehr said. “I had a little more time off. I’ll make sure I’m ready when I get back.”