Twenty-four hours after Matt Hendricks was traded from Nashville to Edmonton, he stood inside the visiting locker room at Xcel Energy Center, answering questions from reporters about a wild ride that is the life of a professional athlete.
When Nick Bjugstad, the former Blaine High School graduate and Gopher turned Florida Panthers rookie centerman, took to the ice ahead of his first National Hockey League game last April, he noticed a familiar face warming up across the rink in fellow Blaine graduate, Matt Hendricks, then playing with the Washington Capitals.
Matt Hendricks and his new Nashville Predators teammates made their first stop of the season at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Oct. 22. His first taste of free agency was a bit uncomfortable for Hendricks, a 2000 graduate of Blaine High School who landed with the team that drafted him in the 2000 entry draft.
A day after signing a pro contract to play for the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Blaine graduate (Class of 2008) Nick Bjugstad shares his thoughts on how his collegiate career came to an end, the last three years in a Gophers sweater and looking ahead to a lifelong dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
With the NHL lockout measured by months now, players have found new ways to stay in shape and in touch with fans, including ways to reach out to the military community for ways to help veterans and their families.