Such an event took place Dec. 16th, when Zach Parise and Jason Pominville had an autograph signing at FanHQ in Minnetonka, MN. Parise was a big enough name, for me, to make the trip, and better yet, a player my wife has heard of, which makes it all that much easier to convince her to go. It also helps that Fan HQ is a store located in Minnetonka's Ridgedale Center, and the mall location gave her something to do, instead of standing in line with me for a couple hours.
The event started off with the photo sessions for those who bought tickets. This way, they could just get the photos snapped, and the line moving, before getting into the autographs. It would just eat up too much time for the lines to stop where they were, so that the player could stand up, and the table moved aside for the picture. I will say that both players were absolutely gracious to all the guests who came. I must have been the 100th or so person Parise took a photo with, but he still had a smile on his face, was conversational, and offered his hand for a handshake as I was walking up.
The event was scheduled to go from 7-8 p.m., but both guys stayed until everybody who bought a ticket got an autograph. I think Pominville finally left at about 8:20, and Parise didn't leave until at least 9:15! It was a fantastic experience with two players who were absolute gentlemen.
I definitely went all-out for this one, as I wanted to really make the trip worth it. I got jerseys signed by both guys.
I also wanted to get a 16x20 signed by Parise for my wall. There were some really cool in-game shots that would look great, but I ended up with this print produced by Steiner Sports (where Parise is signed to an exclusive), that was PERFECT to get signed. It isn't framed in this image here, but I have since framed it and put it on my wall, and it is amazing.
As a puck collector, I had to get those, too. I know some people like the black space that an autograph puck provides, but for me, the Official Game Pucks look SO much better. It just seems like a higher quality piece, and to me, all other pucks just look so cheap.
Lastly, I also got a few cards signed. They all were for a specific purpose, as I'm working on the 2014-15 Fleer Ultra and 2013-14 Score sets, and I'd also like to get as many Young Guns rookie cards signed as I possibly can.
That's it for this excursion. It was a fantastic experience overall, and I look forward to the next one. I try to make it to a couple every year, if there's a big event going on. It's just great living in this area, as there are three companies in MSP that put on signings, and they all have Wild players in-house in the next week or so. Fan HQ will be hosting Mikko Koivu and Devan Dubnyk Jan. 13, Crave Sports Company will be hosing Matt Dumba Jan. 11, and AME Sports will be hosting Charlie Coyle and Darcy Kuemper Jan. 11. I won't be able to make any of them in person, but they all do mail-orders, and I have ordered pucks for Koivu and Dumba, an 8x10 of Dubnyk, and sent a puck in for Kuemper and a Young Guns card in for Coyle.
I know I am, and always will be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, but as far as fan interaction goes, you just can't beat the Minnesota Wild. They are certainly a great "home team" to have.