Local Sports Archives for 2019-02

Vikings extend head coach Mike Zimmer through 2020

The Minnesota Vikings have picked up a team option on head coach Mike Zimmer, locking him up through 2020.  Under Zimmer the Vikings have gone 48-34-1 making the playoffs two out of five years.  The Vikings have won the NFC north titles in 2015 and 2017. 

Wild send forward Matt Hendricks to Winnipeg for 7th round pick

Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired a seventh round selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for forward Matt Hendricks.


Hendricks, 37, recorded two assists and 19 penalty minutes (PIM) in 22 games with Minnesota after being signed as a free agent on July 1, 2018. The 6-foot, 210-pound native of Blaine, Minn., skated in his 600 NHL game at Dallas on Feb. 1. He owns 115 points (54-61=115) and 722 PIM in 603 career NHL games with Colorado, Washington, Nashville, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Minnesota. Hendricks has also skated in 39 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was originally selected by Nashville in the fifth round (131st overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Wild make blockbuster move sending Granlund to Nashville in exchange for Kevin Fiala

Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton on Monday announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired forward Kevin Fiala from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Mikael Granlund.


Fiala, 22, has tallied 32 points (10-22=32) and 26 penalty minutes (PIM) in 64 games with Nashville this season. He set career highs in goals (23), assists (25), points (48), plus-minus rating (plus-20) and shots on goal (187) last season. The 5-foot-10, 193-pound native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, owns 97 points (45-52=97) in 204 career NHL games with the Predators (2014-19). He has collected six points (5-1=6) in 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Nashville. Fiala became the sixth-youngest player in NHL history to appear in a postseason game on April 21, 2015 (18 years, 273 days). In 2014 with Switzerland, he became the third player to appear in the Under-18 World Championship, World Junior Championship and World Championship all in the same year. The Predators selected Fiala in the first round (11th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Granlund, 26, has recorded 49 points (15-34=49) in 63 games with Minnesota this season. He tallied 317 points (93-224=317) in 461 career games with the Wild (2012-19) and notched 21 points (8-13=21) in 39 career Stanley Cup Playoff matches. Minnesota selected Granlund in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Wild extend forward Eric Staal two years

Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has agreed to terms with center Eric Staal on a two-year, $6.5 million contract extension ($3.5 million in 2019-20 and $3 million in 2020-21).


Staal, 34, owns 41 points (18-23=41) including five power-play goals (PPG), five game-winning goals (GWG) and 170 shots on goal in 62 games with Minnesota this season. He ranks T-1st on the team in GWG, second in goals and shots, third in scoring, T-3rd in PPG (5), T-4th in multi-point games (10) and fifth in assists. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound native of Thunder Bay, Ont., skated in his 1,100th NHL game on Oct. 19 and recorded his 400th career goal on Nov. 3. He led the Wild with 76 points (42-34=76) in 82 games during the 2017-18 season, recording the fourth 70-point plus season in franchise history and first since 2009-10. His 42 goals ranked T-4th in the League and marked the second time in team history a Wild player has scored 40-plus goals in a single season. The left-shot forward is one of seven active NHL players to score 40 goals at least three times. Staal owns 182 points (88-94=182), 20 PPG and 17 GWG in 226 career games with Minnesota. He also has three points (1-2=3) in 10 playoff contests with the Wild.


Staal has collected 963 points (413-550=963) in 1,155 games over 15 NHL seasons with Carolina, New York Rangers and Minnesota (2003-2019). He ranks third amongst active NHL players in shots, fifth in goals, sixth in scoring, seventh in games, ninth in PPG and 10th in assists. Carolina selected Staal in the first round (second overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and signed as free agent with Minnesota on July 1, 2016.

Jacks forward Larson earns first Summit League player of the week honors

South Dakota State forward Tagyn Larson has been named the Summit League player of the week for her performance last week.  Larson averaged 17.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.0 blocks while shooting 83.3 percent during that time.  This is the first time Larson has earned the honor. 

Wild reassign forward Kyle Rau

Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has reassigned forward Kyle Rau to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Rau, 26, was recalled by Minnesota on Feb. 4 and recorded one assist and 11 hits in six games with the Wild. He has also tallied 30 points (14-16=30) in 45 games with Iowa this season, including nine power-play goals. The 5-foot-8, 176-pound native of Eden Prairie, has collected five points (2-3=5) in 42 career NHL games with Florida and Minnesota and played in one Stanley Cup Playoff game with the Wild last season. Rau owns 138 points (66-72=138) in 232 career AHL contests.

Coyotes up two spots in most recent women's AP top-25 poll

The University of South Dakota’s women have moved up to #23 in the nation in the most recent Association Press Top 25 poll.  The Coyotes are up from two sports last week at 25th in the nation. The Coyotes are currently 23-3 overall and 11-1 in the Summit League. 

Wild recall forward Eriksson Ek

Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has recalled forward Joel Eriksson Ek from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Eriksson Ek, 22, has tallied seven points (2-5=7) in 36 games with Minnesota this season and ranks sixth on the team with 59 hits. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound native of Karlstad, Sweden, has recorded nine points (4-5=9), including two power-play goals and two game-winning goals in nine games with Iowa this season. Eriksson Ek has recorded 30 points (11-19=30), 34 penalty minutes (PIM) and 216 hits in 126 career games with Minnesota and 18 points (8-10=18) in 18 career contests with Iowa. He was selected by Minnesota in the first round (20th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and wears sweater No. 14 with the Wild.
Minnesota hosts the Edmonton Oilers Thursday at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports North PLUS and KFAN 100.3 FM.

Wild captain Mikko Koivu to miss remainder of the season with ACL/meniscus tear

Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton today announced that captain Mikko Koivu will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee during Tuesday's game at Buffalo. Koivu is expected to have surgery to repair his knee on Friday.


Koivu, 35, has recorded 29 points (8-21=29) and 22 penalty minutes (PIM) in 48 games with Minnesota this season. He leads the team and is 14th in the NHL in faceoff wins (488), ranks T-2nd on the team in power-play points (12) and fifth in assists. Koivu tallied his 200th career NHL goal on Jan. 21 at Vegas to become the second player in team history to reach the milestone. He owns 688 points (201-487=688), 564 PIM and a plus-68 rating in 973 career NHL games with the Wild. Koivu ranks first in franchise history in games played, points, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, shorthanded points and multi-point games, T-1st in power-play goals and second in goals, game-winning goals, shorthanded goals, plus/minus rating and PIM. He was selected by Minnesota in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.


Minnesota hosts the Edmonton Oilers Thursday at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports North PLUS and KFAN 100.3 FM. 

Hotshots sign local product Brandon Kusler

The Hub City Hotshots of the Expedition League today announced three additions to the 2019 roster, including the signing of Northern State University outfielder Brandon Kusler.

Kusler, a 6’1”, 185-pound freshman at NSU, joins the Hotshots after starring with the Aberdeen Smittys American Legion program. He is a Aberdeen Central High graduate and was a member of Central’s soccer and basketball teams while in high school. He is the son of Jay and Connie Kusler, former NSU baseball and basketball student-athletes, and brother of Wolves basketball player Brianna Kusler, a junior at NSU.

The Hotshots roster now stands at 15 signed players with contracts due from a number of additional committed players.

Also joining the Hotshots for the summer are interns Collin Faretta and Matthew Goldsmith.

Vernon named NAHL goaltender of the month

For the second consecutive month, it was an undefeated record for the Aberdeen Wings and goaltender Matt Vernon. The 20-year-old native of San Jose, California, posted an 8-0-0 record during the month as he helped the Wings increase their lead atop the Central Division with a perfect record in January. Vernon (5’10/170) allowed just 12 goals in eight games during the month, which included 216 saves on 228 total shots, good for a 1.47 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. He also had two more shutouts in January. The month was also memorable for Vernon as on January 16th, he committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Colorado College. For the season, leads all NAHL goalies in wins with 28, ranks 4th in save percentage with a .935 mark, and 5th in goals against average at 1.96. “Matt continues to be the backbone of this year’s team. He gives us an opportunity to win every night that he gets the start. Matt is a confident, hardworking individual who leaves everything out on the ice day in and day out. We will be looking for his leadership as we head down the final stretch,” said Aberdeen head coach Scott Langer.


“I was very happy to earn an NCAA commitment while playing in the NAHL. I could not be happier with the commitment and I am very exited for the next step,” said Vernon. “The most important thing to me right now is winning. I also want to be consistent. I think that as long as we keep winning and I remain consistent for my teammates, we will have a great chance for success in the playoffs.”