ST PAUL, Minn. — Ask anyone who has covered the Minnesota Wild for any amount of time, and they'll likely tell you that defenseman Ryan Suter is one of the most unemotional players in that locker room, or almost any other.
It's not a bad thing (unless you're looking for a loaded quote)... it's just that Suter's level head and calm approach to the game of hockey is not the thing headlines are made of.
Well, the multi-time All-Star and bedrock of the Wild blueline for nine seasons is finally letting fans in a bit deeper. Suter penned and posted a letter to yahoo!sports. He opens by explaining his non-excitable demeanor, saying he's "not a big talker," something he got from his father Bob, a member of the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. hockey team.
"But please stick with me here because I really do just want to write something out to convey how appreciative my family and I are for the kindness, friendship and love you’ve all shared with us over the past decade," Suter writes.
"Most of all, I want to say two words: Thank you."
Read Ryan Suter's entire letter to Minnesota here
Suter goes on to write about life in Minnesota - his kids skating on the lake at the family's home, the kindness of their community, hanging around at local rinks while his kids practiced and chatting with people as a hockey dad, not an NHL star - and how he and wife Becky forged friendships that will last forever.
"Before I knew it, I had about a dozen close friends — people who, to this day, are some of my dearest friends in the world, Suter reflected in his yahoo!sports letter. "And it was so cool to go to the rink or ball field for games or practices, and then head over to The Hilltop or Bunny’s with the whole crew and just hang out together... Everything about it felt so completely right."
"The relationships you all built with us were strong from the very start, and, as corny as it sounds, sometimes Becky and I would just sit up at night after the kids were in bed and tell stories and talk about how lucky we were to be in such a perfect place."
The buyout that occurred weeks ago put Suter "basically in shock." He describes being at a loss for words, hanging up on Wild GM Guerin, and having to tell his stunned kids he'd be playing somewhere else. But Suter also felt the love from friends, fans and Minnesota residents who were as sad about the breakup as he was. He received hundreds of calls and texts that weren't all about hockey... "it was just… life stuff. Showing support, sharing some love, reminiscing."
"Those messages made me feel better about everything because I felt like maybe they signify that I’ve touched people’s hearts during my time here, and that I’ve been a good person to all of you," Suter writes. "That’s what I value above all else." (It’s another thing I learned from my dad — by watching him and how he treated everyone — and I just hope I did him proud during my time in Minnesota.)
It was announced earlier this week that Suter had inked a four-year free agent deal with the Dallas Stars, one that will see him back at Xcel Energy Center on a regular basis, only dressing in the visitor's locker room.
“Ryan was as steady as they come on the ice. The Wild have to figure out a way to replace both his leadership and steady play on the blue line," shares KARE 11's Dave Schwartz. "Even if he may have slowed down a bit, his hockey sense is still better than a lot of guys in the NHL. He’s got a lot of hockey left in him for sure.”
Suter says he is excited for the opportunity, the chance to chase the cup that has been so evasive in his long and successful career, but when it's over... he'll be coming home.
Here’s the thing, Minnesota. And this is a promise.
This letter, it’s not a goodbye. It’s more like a….
Thank you, and we love you, and we’ll see you soon!
Because after I hang ’em up, we’re coming back.
Back to Minnesota. Back to a place that we all love. Our place.