Fans of this team are Wild about hockey, you might say. Minnesota Wild Hockey Club owns and operates the Minnesota Wild professional hockey franchise. The team joined the National Hockey League in the expansion of 2000 (along with the Columbus Blue Jackets), filling the void left after the Minnesota North Stars moved to Texas in 1993 to become the Dallas Stars. An investment group led by Robert Naegele Jr. helped bring hockey back to the Twin Cities. Former Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold acquired control of the team from Naegele in 2008.
The Wild named Mike Yeo head coach for the 2011-12 season following a disappointing 2010-11 campaign. Yeo replaced former San Jose Sharks assistant Todd Richards.
Leipold, who sold the Preds to a group of Nashville businessmen for about $190 million in 2007, rejoined the ranks of NHL owners the following year when he purchased a 51% stake in the Minnesota team for $260 million. His Nashville franchise had struggled to build a fan base despite posting winning records and making the Stanley Cup playoffs three times since joining the league in 2001; Leipold claimed he lost about $70 million during the 2005-06 season.
Before starting the Nashville club in 1998, Leipold founded telemarketing firm Ameritel (later acquired by Convergys) and owned Rainfair Corporation, a maker of protective clothing that was sold to LaCrosse Footwear in 1996. His wife, Helen Johnson-Leipold, is CEO of outdoor equipment maker Johnson Outdoors and is part of the family that controls household products manufacturer S.C. Johnson & Son.
Former North Stars owner Norm Green -- and NHL officials -- drew the ire of Minnesota hockey fans when the Stars headed south for greener pastures in Dallas (where the franchise won its first Stanley Cup championship in 1999). Naegele and other investors, including Stanley Hubbard (CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting) and heirs of the Ordway family (early 3M investors), were awarded a new franchise for the Twin Cities market in 1997 as part of the league's expansion effort of the late 1990s.
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