Wild take their dads to Philly, Toronto

Wild take their dads to Philly, Toronto

Published Jan. 17, 2012 4:31 p.m. ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The Minnesota Wild's annual father-son trip takes the team on an East Coast swing to face Philadelphia and Toronto this week.

On Tuesday morning before practice, the dads were on the ice in Wild game sweaters posing for a team picture with their sons. Everyone flashed big smiles, including coach Mike Yeo, whose father, Wayne, is also on the trip.

"It is really great to have our dads here," Yeo said. “I am sure it will provide extra motivation for all of us because most dads are the always the ones to watch everything we do and come with strong advice."

Matt Cullen's father, Terry, was his coach back when Matt played his high school hockey in Moorhead, Minn.

"We both really enjoy these trips," Cullen said. “Obviously, all of these dads had a huge influence on our lives and made such a positive impact on our careers. My dad especially because he was my coach, and I still enjoy his advice. He knows the game, and I love our hockey chats."

The Wild had the dads take a tour of Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon, partly for the historic value and partly to give the players a chance to rest up and keep the game day routine in place. Later this week, when the team heads to Toronto, the dads will be tour the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Jeff Lundin is the father of new Wild defenseman Mike Lundin and is thrilled to finally have such a unique opportunity.

"When Mike was in Tampa Bay, we never got to do one of these, so this is really special," Jeff Lundin said. “I'm excited to meet the other dads and trade funny stories from when these guys were growing up."

Mike Lundin had the same reaction.

"This is such a tremendous idea," he said. “I know from talking to the guys that we are all really excited to play our very best and make all of the dads very proud tonight."

Philadelphia can be a rough-and-tumble place for the visitors, and when Terry Cullen was asked about wearing Wild sweaters to the game Tuesday night he joked, "I think we can all hold our own, but either way I did notice that the jerseys they gave us had the fight straps in the back. So who knows what to expect tonight."