« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Chris Murphy, Published July 11 2013

Cullen prepares for move to Nashville

Moorhead - Nashville Predators forward Matt Cullen walked around the bar at Usher’s House for Cully’s Kids silent auction in Moorhead as if he was just an average Joe having a beer after work with some co-workers.

It didn’t matter that in another room and on the patio were items of his that people would be paying money for, or that he’s won a Stanley Cup, or that he’s scored more than 200 goals in the NHL. Cullen blended in as if he were just like anyone else.

And that is why the same people he blended in with will miss having the Moorhead High School graduate playing for the Minnesota Wild, who he played the last three seasons with. It’s because this is his home, and he’s one of them.

“It’s quite a change,” Cullen said of moving to Nashville. “The last few years, we’ve been kind of spoiled and have just come down (Interstate) 94 from Minneapolis and we’d be home. It’s part of being a pro hockey player. I’m pretty lucky to have played three years in Minneapolis and play for the Wild.”

A week after raising money to support children’s healthcare Thursday, Cullen will be heading to Nashville to find a home to rent. Even though it’s the seventh team in his career, moving doesn’t get any easier.

“When you’re younger, it’s just about making a couple phone calls and finding a condo and you’re all set,” Cullen said. “Now, we have three little boys, so there’s a lot more to it when you get old and you have a family.”

Cullen isn’t the only one leaving home, as his wife, Bridget, grew up in Moorhead. She’s confident she, Matt, 6-year-old Brooks, 4-year-old Wyatt and 3-year-old Joey will be fine as long as they are together.

“This was definitely the hardest move,” Bridget said. “Now that it has sunk in that we’re moving again, we’re ready to go. The kids are excited. We’re a family wherever we all are, and we can make anywhere a home.”

For Cullen, this is what comes with the territory. The alternative would be retirement, and he’s not ready to even think of that.

“That hasn’t come into the equation and that won’t come in as long as you can play and play at high level,” Matt said. “I know I’ll continue to play as long as I can. If there’s injuries and the body says, ‘No,’ then it’ll be time. But until then, I’ll keep playing.”

Cullen’s last Wild jersey hung among the items to be bid on in the main room of Usher’s House. As far away as possible from it hung his first Predators jersey on the patio. It was as if the Predators jersey was pushed to the side, so Cullen’s fellow Minnesotans for one night could forget the inevitable.

“I was lucky enough to play at home,” Matt said. “You can probably count on one hand the number of guys that get to do something like that at the highest level. I know I was pretty fortunate to get that, and I will miss it a lot. I absolutely loved it. I never took it for granted at all. That’s the nature of the business and it doesn’t always work out the way you thought it would. Minnesota has been awesome. They’ve been very good to us. Life just changes.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548