The Minnesota Wild celebrated arguably the biggest day in franchise history on Monday as the team introduced free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. These are also exciting times for Eau Claire native Jake Dowell as he signed a two-year contract to play for the Wild last week. SportScene 13's Bob Gallaher caught up with Jake Monday morning as he talked about what it means to get a chance to play so close to home and with two top notch players.
Minnesota Wild Forward Jake Dowell says: "Ryan (Suter) and Zach (Parise) bring world class talent, work ethic, have won at a lot of levels. They (Wild) are looking to win the Stanley Cup, that's what the ultimate goal is..."
While the Minnesota Wild were introducing their two 98-million dollar free agent prize acquisitions at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Monday afternoon, Eau Claire native Jake Dowell was skating at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, thrilled to be a member of the Wild and excited to be re-united with some former Badger teammates.
Jake Dowell says: "Tom Gilbert, Ryan (Suter) are two of my best friends, it's exciting to be back playing with them, obviously great players, in a matter of days (the Wild) changed this team, one with high hopes, a lot of pressure to succeed and that's great, that's what you want."
After spending the first few years of his professional career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Jake played with the Dallas Stars last season, but now hopes to stick around in Minnesota and be part of an organization that with the addition of Parise and Suter, is poised to make a run at the Cup.
Jake Dowell says: "I don't think I'm coming here to play on a top line or be on the powerplay, that's obvious. I think the point is to get a good mix of gritty players and skilled players... Obviously I want to play as much as I can, get some penalty kill, be more of a role player..."
Mike Yeo, Minnesota Wild head coach says: "I have a soft spot in my heart for guys that bring that to the table, Jake is one of those guys... he's going to be a great team guy, done a lot of winning, know what it takes, he will help the culture in our locker room, our leadership core. As an individual, he's a guy that's going to make our team tougher to play against, ultimately that's what we saw in him."
As for Jake's long-time friend Ryan Suter, he echoes his coaches' belief that championship caliber teams need players like a Jake Dowell, a guy willing to do anything to win.
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild defenseman says: "He plays hard, plays the right way, he's tough, he's a great teammate and I think that's a big reason they got him..."