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Associated Press, Published January 16 2013

Wild tickets go fast despite lockout

ST. PAUL – What lockout?

Minnesota Wild players and team officials have apologized for the half-season lost, and the fans who lined up Wednesday morning to buy tickets at the Xcel Energy Center were quick to forgive.

John Maher, the vice president of marketing, said single-game tickets have been especially brisk this year, despite the uncertainty caused by the lockout. Saturday’s season opener against the Colorado Avalanche and Feb. 17’s game versus the Detroit Red Wings both sold out within an hour of the box office opening. Tickets sold out within an hour for Saturday’s season opener against the Colorado Avalanche and a Feb. 17 game against the Detroit Red Wings.

“We’re so grateful to the fans. We certainly didn’t know what to expect,” Maher said.

About 150 people were waiting to buy tickets when the box office opened at 8 a.m., including more than 20 fans who spent the night inside the arena.

Pat Vos, of south Minneapolis, staked out his spot at the front of the line 24 hours early and was able to snag tickets to three home games, including tickets for Saturday’s game for him and his son, Kyle.

“I’m just really relieved the lockout is over and we’ve got hockey back,” said Vos.

Kyle Vos, who has been attending games with his father since the Wild’s 2000-01 inaugural season, said he can’t wait to see former New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise skate in a Wild jersey for the first time.

Matt Majka, the team’s chief operating officer, said the summer signings of Parise, a Minneapolis native, and fellow star free agent Ryan Suter, who grew up in Wisconsin, “makes coming back a little less challenging.” The team sold 4,000 season ticket packages after signing the duo and another 100 last week after news broke that the lockout would soon end.

Like the 29 other teams, the Wild have been working extra hard to win back fans after the 119-day lockout, which was the NHL’s second lockout in eight seasons.

The team’s “Wild Wednesday” concluded with an intra-squad game open to fans. Those lucky enough to get free tickets to the 7 p.m. scrimmage were to receive $10 concession vouchers. All Wild fans got a 50 percent discount on jerseys and other apparel at the team’s three metro-area stores.