It’s always been mind-blowing to think that the Minnesota Wild – sold-out main attraction in THE STATE OF HOCKEY – could be an annual money-losing franchise. Granted missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesn’t exactly fill the coffers but this is like cultivating the richest soil on the farm and only being able to grow dandelions.
The losses haven’t been massive in past years but columnist Charlie Walters of the Pioneer Press reported on Sunday that the Wild ran up a significant debt in the 2012-13 lockout shortened NHL season even as a playoff team.
From the Press:
A little birdie says the Wild lost $30 million during their abbreviated 2012-13 season and a cash call was made to team investors in February. The Wild paid bonuses totaling $20 million to sign free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
So do we blame the NHL lockout for this reported debt or owner Craig Leipold’s up-front money to Parise and Suter?
This isn’t the first “little birdie” to chirp at Walters. It’s fairly obvious he has a source with knowledge of Wild ownership. From Aug. 2012:
The Minnesota Wild have to pay $10 million bonuses by Saturday Aug. 18 to each of the star free agents they signed in July Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. With those bonuses due a little birdie says virtually all of the Wild's 11 limited partners last week agreed to commit to a total capital call of $10 million. Principal partner Craig Leipold is expected to fund the remaining $10 million.
There was another cash call in November as the Wild sought to fund the team through the NHL lockout.