Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Matt Cullen Autographed Card and Bobblehead

In the Fargo-Moorhead area, we don't have a whole lot of professional athletes to come out of the region, but we do have a few. The most famous, of course, is Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961.We also have Matt Cullen of the Nashville Predators, who was raised in Moorhead, MN. While he may not carry the legendary credentials of Maris, Cullen has put together an impressive NHL career, he has scored 212 goals and 389 assists over his 16 years in the league, along with a Stanley Cup victory in 2006, with the Carolina Hurricanes.

He tends to stay out of the spotlight when at home during the off-season, but there are occasional autograph opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of in years past. My first encounter was at a celebrity golf tournament in the late 90s. I knew he would be there, and at the time, being the only hockey player attending, he was really the only one I went after. We were living in Texas at the time, and I didn't bring anything up with me, but I was able to get my hands on a team set of hockey cards, which would give me a card of Cullen's.

The second occurrence actually took place at a baseball game. Back in 2007, again, when we were visiting family up here, the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the Northern Baseball League had a themed "Hockey Night." Cullen was there to throw out the first pitch, which he did by shooting it into a net with a hockey stick, a goal horn was sounded for every Redhawks run, and all sorts of fans came to the game wearing hockey sweaters. After the pre-game ceremonies, which had Cullen and his wife talk to the fans about Cully's Kids, their charity which provides financial resources to children's health care organizations, primarily those dealing with cancer, Cullen made himself available to sign autographs in the concession area. Like before, I hadn't brought any Matt Cullen items with me on my trip, but luckily, they were giving out bobbleheads at the gate, which gave me a great item for him to sign. The bobblehead features Cullen in his Moorhead Spuds hockey gear, where he played high school hockey.

Cullen still resides in Moorhead during the off-season, so I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities in the future. I just need to get my hands on a Cullen Minnesota Wild jersey, so that I will finally be prepared for when another opportunity comes my way.

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