Saskatoon goaltender Darcy Kuemper looks forward to improving his stats in his hometown as the NHL preseason returns to SaskTel Centre this weekend.
While Edmonton Oiler fans are expected to pack the arena on Saturday, fans can expect to see a decent-sized contingent of Minnesota Wild fans cheering on their local netminder.
Kuemper just hopes he gets the nod to start between the pipes.
“The coaches are aware that it’s obviously my hometown so there has been no official decision but it’s leaning towards me playing,” Kuemper told News Talk Radio.
“It’ll be a really fun experience and an opportunity I don’t get too often to play in my hometown in front of my friends and family.”
The last time the 25-year-old suited up under the lights at SaskTel Centre was in 2011, when he started with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels who visited the Saskatoon Blades.
Kuemper gave up six goals in the 7-5 loss to the Blades, and he’s hoping for a better outing with the Wild now that the NHL preseason is expanding to outside markets.
“It’s good the direction it’s going in especially with these games in out-of-league markets, growing up in Saskatoon I know how excited I would have been to get the opportunity to go watch an NHL game even if it was just preseason,” Kuemper said.
“It’s a good chance to reach out to fans who have to travel to watch an NHL game and get cities without a team to experience a home game.”
Kuemper said he spends much of the off-season in Saskatoon, so he hasn’t been gone too long, but he’s hoping the Wild push out a strong performance this weekend.
The NHL preseason game starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at SaskTel Centre. Tickets are still available at www.ticketmaster.ca