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Wild fans line up as tickets finally go on sale

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm •  Published: January 16, 2013
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"We think we owe it to our fans. We're really committed to winning their faith and trust back," Majka said.

Not all fans are ready to forgive and forget.

Blake Bennett, a 25-year-old Target worker, said he used to drive down twice a year from Duluth to watch the Wild play, then went to 10 games a season once he moved to Minneapolis. But he plans to watch games from home this season, because he feels the players and owners took the fans for granted in their dispute over revenue sharing and contract limits.

Wild fans rushed back after the 2004-05 lockout: A record 19,398 fans attended the first home game after a season-long breakdown. League-wide attendance rose by 500,000 that season, compared to 2003-04.

Kyle Reinhardt drove up from Rochester to get in line at 2:30 a.m., hoping to get as many tickets as possible for Sunday games before heading back home for work Wednesday morning.

Reinhardt said he initially blamed the league's owners for cutting the season short, but that's in the past. He won't let the lockout stop him from enjoying his sixth year of Wild hockey.

"They understand that they might have been a little wrong," he said.

With the first game just days away, expectations are high for the Wild to perform. Kyle Vos said he expects the team to clinch its first playoff berth since 2008.

Wild players know the pressure is on.

"It's not enough for us to say we're sorry ... We have to go out there and play good hockey and worry," goalie Niklas Backstrom said. "We have to do our job to repair the damage."