SBD/23/Franchises

MN EXPANSION TEAM HOPES FANS READY FOR WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

          Minnesota's NHL expansion team unveiled its new name,
     the "Wild," along with its logo, including the official
     colors of Iron Range Red, Forest Green, Harvest Gold and
     Minnesota Wheat (Wild).  In Minneapolis, John Millea reports
     that 3,500 fans attended the team's ceremony, where the name
     was introduced to Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild."  Wild
     merchandise went on sale "immediately after" the event
     outside, and will be available today at retail.  Wild CEO
     Jac Sperling: "The identity is the wilderness.  It's one of
     the good things about Minnesota; the rugged natural
     wilderness and the enthusiasm of the fans" (STAR TRIBUNE,
     1/23).  Also in MN, Patrick Reusse writes that after an
     effort to get the name "North Stars" back from Dallas
     failed, and the expansion team's owners "showed no interest
     in reviving" the old St. Paul "Fighting Saints" name, the
     moniker is "certain to be a disappointment" to MN's hockey
     traditionalists: "The name offered no link to St. Paul, no
     link to the NHL's Minnesota past" (STAR TRIBUNE, 1/23).
          OFF-ICE: Wild Managing Partner Bob Naegele "declined
     comment" on reports that he had "more than doubled" his
     initial $10M investment in the franchise when other
     investors withdrew (Charley Walters, PIONEER PRESS, 1/23).

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