The Minnesota Wild is one of the most popular professional sports teams in the state as a lot of the state either plays or watches hockey. In the grand scheme of things their arena, Xcel Energy Center, is one of the newer ones in the NHL as it was opened on September 29, 2000.
Arena Guide by Ice Hockey Tripper
The arena was created specifically with the NHL in mind as it was created in order to get a NHL expansion team within the state. Now it took a while for the project to get funding, half of which came from the state of Minnesota specifically. The first sporting event hosted in the new arena was when the Minnesota Wild played there on October 11, 2000 and the game actually ended in a tie against the Philadelphia Flyers. Exactly a week after this game, the Wild earned their first victory in their brand new arena. Now it would take two more years for the Wild to play their first playoff game there, where they unfortunately lost three to nothing.
In addition to the history of the Minnesota Wild playing there, the arena as a whole has earned some accolades throughout the years. In 2004 specifically, the arena was selected to be the best sports venue overall in all of the United States by ESPN. The arena has also been a host to the Republican National Convention, which is a pretty rare selection within itself. Again the arena earned top honors being rated as the third best sports arena/stadium experience, with the first award going to their friends the Minnesota Twins. Again these ratings came from ESPN, one of the biggest companies in sports. We are certain that the arena will only maintain these ratings in the future. It is also unique as it embraces the statewide history of hockey as well.