Wild’s Parise sits out key game to be with ailing father

Zach Parise, who signed a 13-year contract with the Wild as a free agent in 2012, is tied for the team lead with 14 goals and has 16 assists in 32 games this season.

Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Facing an important home game Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, the Minnesota Wild will be without leading scorer Zach Parise.

Minnesota announced Parise wouldn’t play Tuesday to be with his ailing father, J.P, who is battling lung cancer.

"The Wild supports his decision to be with his family as his dad, J.P., battles lung cancer and asks that their privacy be respected," the team said in a release prior to Tuesday’s game. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Parise family during this difficult time."

Parise, 30, is from Minnesota, hailing from the state where his dad was an NHL player for the Minnesota North Stars. J.P. Parise was diagnosed with the cancer one year ago and Zach Parise recently talked about the stress of going through this time with his dad struggling with cancer.

"It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life," Parise told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "You try and find that separation, you try to come here and be around the guys and not think about it, and Yeozie [coach Mike Yeo] has been really good and the team’s been really good giving me the day off [Thursday], saying basically, ‘Just show up for games.’

"They’ve been really supportive about it, but the hard part about it is you try to go to the rink and forget about stuff, but the hard part is . . . this was kind of our thing."

Parise, who signed a 13-year contract with the Wild as a free agent in 2012, is tied for the team lead with 14 goals and has 16 assists in 32 games.

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