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Bob Naegele Jr., the man who helped bring pro hockey back to Minnesota, has died

Naegele Jr. is the former chairman of the Minnesota Wild.

The Minnesota Wild announced Thursday that former team chairman Bob Naegele Jr. has passed away due to complications from cancer. 

Naegele died Wednesday night in the Twin Cities with his family by his side. 

Naegele, a Minnesota native who went to high school in Minnetonka, played a huge role in bringing professional hockey back to Minnesota after the Minnesota North Stars relocated to Dallas following the 1993 season. 

"From the first time that I met Bob, when we were both introduced as new NHL owners that summer of '97, I was impressed by his passion for the game and his love of his home state," said Wild owner Craig Leipold in a statement. 

Three years later the Wild debuted at Xcel Energy Center, a place they've called home for nearly two decades now. 

"A piece of his heart and soul will remain forever as a part of the Wild. We will honor that," Leipold added. 

Two immediate ways the Wild will honor Naegele will be to start wearing a patch on their uniforms with his initials BN on them. They'll also hold a moment of silence before their next home game Nov. 13 against the Washington Capitals. 

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The Wild honored Naegele in 2017 by bestowing him with the State of Hockey Legacy Award, given to people who make significant and long-lasting contributions to hockey in Minnesota.  

Naegele was chairman of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (MSE) and majority owner of the Wild until Leipold's purchase was approved by the NHL Board of Governors in 2008.

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