Wild Timeline: A Welcome Surprise
Just like the game of hockey, employees from the Minnesota Wild use teamwork to solve problems and earn victories. However, often times these little wins for the organization often go unnoticed, especially when it comes to the PR staff. However, I was lucky enough to get a first-hand look at the staff’s work when Jason Pominville’s wife, Kim, decided that she was going to surprise him with their two children in Columbus.
The only caveat is that the PR staff on the trip, Ryan Stanzel and Carly Peters, didn’t learn that Kim was going to arrive in Columbus until the evening before the game. This might not seem like an ordeal, but the folks from @mnwildPR went above and beyond to make the Pominville’s trip a memorable one, including by helping keep their secret from Jason. Below is a timeline of the staff’s 24 hours after they learned the Pominville family was coming to Columbus.
1 p.m. - The Wild has practice at Nationwide Arena. The PR staff does its usual duty of assisting the media, including wild.com, in post-practice player and staff availability.
6 p.m. - Ryan gets a text from Zach Parise saying Kim wants to surprise Jason Sunday.
7 p.m. - The Wild PR and wild.com staff is out in Columbus eating dinner and watching the Final Four.
7:15 p.m. - Kim texts Ryan to arrange tickets to Sunday's game.
7:18 p.m. - Ryan and Carly go into PR/Team Services mode. The dinner with wild.com becomes a brainstorming session of ideas to make Sunday's surprise special.
8:15 p.m. - A light bulb moment: The Hockey Lodge at Xcel Energy Center is still open for Saturday's Swarm game, so we can get the Pominville's Wild gear. Now we just need a way to get it to Columbus.
8:25 p.m. - Ryan calls the team's Delta charter representative to determine if the airline can ship the gear in the morning.
8:32 p.m. - Multiple Wild staffers in Minnesota are called to help retrieve Wild apparel from the Hockey Lodge at Xcel Energy Center.
9 p.m. - Delta confirms it is possible to get the Wild gear to Columbus. However, someone will need to bring the box to MSP International Airport at 9 a.m. Sunday, where a Delta manager - on his off day - will make sure it gets on a plane to Columbus.
9:15 p.m. - Carly calls PR intern Megan Kogut, who confirms she can pick up the box at Xcel Energy Center and make the trip to the airport in the morning.
9:30 p.m. - After Hockey Lodge staffers packed up a variety of Wild gear, the box of Wild goodies is delivered to security at Xcel Energy Center.
8:30 a.m. - Megan goes to security at Xcel Energy Center and picks up the package.
9 a.m. - Megan drives to the airport and gives the box of apparel to a waiting Delta attendant.
10:30 a.m. - The Wild has its morning skate in Columbus, as the Wild PR and web staffers handle their typical game-day duties.
12:45 p.m. - Carly takes a mile walk through downtown Columbus to purchase gift basket materials from a local drug store.
1 p.m. - Ryan notices the flight is scheduled to land early and takes a cab to the Columbus airport. While picking up the package, he sees a good omen.
1:41 p.m. - On the way back from airport, Ryan receives a text from Kim saying they are having car trouble on their drive from Buffalo and will be delayed two hours out.
1:56 p.m. - Ryan and Carly put together the welcome gift basket in a hotel room.
2:20 p.m. - As Ryan researches rental car companies, Kim and company are back on the road.
3:15 p.m. - After players check out of the hotel, Ryan and Carly ensure that the first bus to the rink will leave on time. Jason is on the bus.
3:35 p.m. - More car trouble for Kim.
3:50 p.m. - Kim’s dad fixes the car and they’re on their way.
4 p.m. - Ryan and Carly walk to Nationwide Arena with WildTV's Dusty Peterson. Carly carries the gift basket, while Dusty is mistaken for a certain Wild player and asked to autograph photos by Columbus hockey fans on the sidewalk.
4:08 p.m. - Ryan meets Kim and the kids outside the arena's coffee shop and they enter the arena.
4:10 p.m. - The Pominville family walk to the arena's event level and are surprised with the gift basket of Wild gear.
4:11 p.m. - The Pominville's enthusiastically gears up in Wild Forrest Green, Iron Range Red and Wheat.
4:25 p.m. - Carly and Dusty escort the Pominville's to another part of the arena to wait for Jason.
4:36 p.m. - During a break in the team's pre-game routine, Ryan tells Jason he has a visitor. They walk down the hall to see his family, and Jason can’t stop grinning.
7:08 p.m. - Sitting in the stands in Wild gear, the Pominville’s watch Jason net his first point in a Wild sweater - an assist on Ryan Suter's opening goal.
8:26 p.m. - The Pominville family celebrates with daddy as Jason scores the game’s third goal and his first in a Wild uniform.