Veteran Wild forward Zach Parise grew up cheering for the North Stars.
It was something of a rite of passage for a hockey-loving kid in the Twin Cities back in the day, and the fact that his father, J.P. Parise, once captained the North Stars no doubt contributed to his fandom.
So imagine how Parise was feeling Sunday night as he donned a North Stars-inspired jersey during the Wild’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. All the memories from his childhood came flooding back.
“That was my favorite team growing up; I used to love going and watching them play,” Parise said before the game. “From my dad’s playing days, we had a lot of the North Stars memorabilia around the house. Just a lot of his old gear and pictures, so for me in particular, to be able to wear those colors, it will be fun.”
It was the first time in franchise history that the Wild were allowed to wear the North Stars color scheme in an official game. They still aren’t allowed to use the actual North Stars logo since the rights belong to the Dallas Stars. Instead of the “N” that became synonymous with the North Stars, the alternate jerseys featured a Wild crest on the front.
“The color scheme is awesome,” Parise said. “All of us North Star fans here feel like it’s been a long time coming that we add a little bit of that into the jerseys and into the team. They did a really good job with them to pay a little tribute to the North Stars for a lot of us who grew up watching them.”
It’s not just the Wild rocking fresh alternate jerseys this season: It’s a part of the “Reverse Retro” collection with teams across the league paying homage to their roots.
But the Wild feel like their design is a step above the rest, though maybe they are biased.
“I really like them,” captain Jared Spurgeon said. “They’re one of the nicer ones, if not the nicest one, that came out.”
Maybe it helped that the Wild emerged victorious while rocking the alternate jerseys for the first time. Despite being extremely shorthanded with various players out of the lineup, the Wild earned a highly unlikely 4-3 overtime win over the Avalanche, an effort that no doubt would have made the North Stars proud.
Sunday’s game won’t be the only time the Wild wear the North Stars-inspired jerseys. They will wear them in five more games this season: Feb. 6-7 at home against the Coyotes, Feb. 27 at home against the Kings, March 3 on the road against the Golden Knights, and March 6 on the road against the Coyotes.
“It’s exciting for the guys,” coach Dean Evason said. “They were jacked about it. As far as the look goes, I think everybody’s real excited about it.”