ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - While millions across America celebrated their country's independence in the scorching sun, it is distinctly Minnesota that we found a few sweating it out on a refreshing hockey rink.
That state of hockey mentality is the exact reason why Wednesday's announcement of the two biggest free agent stars in the NHL deciding to play for the Minnesota Wild is ten times bigger than Wednesday night's fireworks.
"It's phenomenal, a big boost for the team," said hockey fan Mike Burke.
We caught up with Burke who on July 4th brought his two young kids, Lily and Nathan to watch some fire crackers on the rink.
"I think ticket sales will be going way up along with the excitement," he said of the free agent pickups.
Mike was correct.
The Wild's front office brought in everyone to man the phones at the ticket office as word spread about Zach Parise and Ryan Suter's arrival.
"It's been one for the ages," said Matt Majka, the Wild's chief operating officer. "It just hasn't stopped and hasn't shown any signs of stopping right now. People in the state of hockey are pretty excited now."
In the first hour, the Wild sold 500 season tickets and were already starting to sell out some of the packages early in the day.
That's why the Wild organization is pressing to capture that excitement by already making Parise and Suter jersey's. The jerseys will be available in a limited fashion at the Hockey Lodge in the Xcel Energy Center and in stores in Burnsville and Maplewood.
Across the street from the "X" at Liffey's, assistant general manager Dan Faunce knows how big this could be for business since sales triple when the Wild are playing next door.
"It's great news for us," he said. "It means everything come fall for us."
But perhaps this day is more about the masses than the money, more about the people who even on a hot summer day find themselves inside an ice arena, thinking hockey.
"I think this raises a lot of excitement," said Burke.
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