If you’re a child of the 1980s or older, you should be very familiar with the classic television sitcom Cheers. To this day, I know if I hear that opening piano riff, I know exactly what song it is and the show it belongs to. Whether you liked the show or not, to this day we all know what it is, and that is a unifying feature. And considering the lyrics, it makes it that much more impactful. Plus, it’s human nature. We want to find a place to hang out with likeminded people yet at the same time, meet new friends. It was a place where everybody knows…your (screen) name?!?! (see what I did there?)
Pre-internet days, it really was the local watering hole where people gathered. Sure, people will still get together at a bar or restaurant, but in this digital age, we have almost become more disconnected the more connected we are. As the internet became more of an everyday thing, the Minnesota Wild joined the National Hockey League. And back in those days, connecting with others about your favorite team was done on a message board compared to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram today. At one time, each NHL team had an official team message board on their website. Some were more heavily visited than others. And interestingly enough, great friendships and rivalries were built through those message boards.
As a Minnesota Wild fan, I have been a long-time member of the Wild’s official message boards. I, along with others, have weathered the storms over the years. These storms have come in many different forms. Everything from 13-year old Vancouver Canucks fans/trolls, boards that crashed, Russian porn-bots and/or Viagara hawkers, internal fights with fellow fans, and software changes for the boards themselves. We’ve been through it all. However, those storms have also made for interesting times. We once had a poster named Maka. He made some of the best Photoshop images to combat those 13-year old Vancouver trolls. Behold their greatness and creativity:
And speaking of some of those 13-year old Vancouver trolls. Well they’ve grown up, as we’ve all grown older. One of those fans who we all know as DJ Ricky, has grown up and become a fairly responsible adult. Heck, he makes me feel very old when I see the things he experiences through his Twitter feed. He is proof that sometimes first impressions are wrong, or at the very least, we should never judge people by who they were at the age of 13. But then there are some adults who for whatever reason never really seem to mature past the age of 13. Although DJ Ricky will never stop being a die-hard, do-or-die Canucks fan for life. You have to hand it to him, considering their recent lackluster seasons, he hasn’t given up on his team.
So where am I going with this? Near the end of May, those of us who still visited the Minnesota Wild message boards, found a post from our on-again-off-again moderator, Kevin Falness that starting June 1st, the message boards were going to be shut down for good. For a while, no one really seemed to know if this was a league-wide thing or a team-by-team decision. It appears to be a bit of a team-by-team decision, as the aforementioned Canucks still have their team message boards. When it was discovered, one of our regular poster shared a link to a new home at HockeyForums.net. Many of us who were left on the Wild.com message boards, have made the move. You should join us and be a part of the best Wild fan community around. Just like when you move into your dorm, a new apartment, or a new house, it takes a while to get adjusted to your new surroundings. For the most part, we’re well settled in and enjoying ourselves.
The sad part was losing part of our history with the team. There were some epic topics there, that are suddenly just gone. For example, there was the “Who is the 30/40/50 year old blonde” topic. I can’t even tell you how many pages long it was or for how many years we as fans posted on it. It’s now gone. So let’s take a look at some of the memories from my fellow wild.com message board users:
From bbgarnett: Best thing I can say is the Comradarie was great especially among the regulars and just being able to relax and have fun talking about Hockey or food or death of appliances etc. I feel it was a place that you could just come to even if you had a bad day and more than likely end up leaving feeling much better about whatever was troubling you.
From Jagged Ice: Who is that 30 something blonde…How many pages was that thread and how many years did that last? She always looked like she just smelled an onion. Antii had a crush on her. Ok he wasn’t alone.
From Crease and Assist: But perhaps the best memory, albeit more personal was the trip to Laughlin, NV with PtoJoneser, AngelinaE, MNSlappy and his wife. We won the trip through Wild fan line to Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort & Casino. While the casino wasn’t that great, we had a ton of fun and kept as hockey as we could which wasn’t easy in a place that seemed hostile to hockey as much as it could be. The mud puddle bar incident was both sad and hilarious. But I think overall we got the last laugh.
From Villee/Lavaux: Oh yeah, and the some of trash-talk I had with Fargo. He has is own way when it comes to argumentation, but he really has a clue. We had some harsh discussion, but overall I quite often agree with him. I’m wondering if he will join the others here, I hope so.
From KissArmyman (now IllaZilla): Speaking of that 2011 draft, I remember when the Wild drafted Brodin, the old boards were flooded with a bunch of Swedish fanboys telling us we had just drafted the next Niklas Lidstrom…yeah, no.
And I though LiG was going to have an aneurysm at that draft when the Wild announced they had picked Zach Phillips with the 28th overall pick…he almost sounded like Ralphie when he was beating up Scut Farkus in “A Christmas Story”…
From Antti_Laxative: My other best memory was the Krazy Amy thread and the time me and PTO were at the X getting beers and virtually ran into her and her goofy claw, and both, unwittingly hit each other in the shoulder and exclaimed “HEY!! It’s Krazy Amy!” She was unimpressed to say the least
Also, as I alluded to earlier, we were victims of our own drama from time to time. We didn’t always get along, but we also had great moments of community and compassion. It is those moments I’m also sad to lose. Over the many years of the Wild.com message boards’ existence, we lost some fans to illness. There was IowaFan (Cyndi) and more recently PntlyBoxBabe (Josie). Both of them were taken from life far too young, battling their respective illnesses. Their lives and their love of the Wild touched all of us in one way or another and they will never be forgotten.
I suppose I should thank the Minnesota Wild for their hosting of us for so many years at no cost to us. I’m sure we created several headaches, well at least for Falness. So farewell Wild.com message boards. It was fun while it lasted. And thanks to wukwinn (another MIA poster) for making this great video back in the day, which serves as a reminder of the halcyon days back on the old boards.