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New era of Wild hockey begins as team officially introduces Zach Parise and Ryan Suter

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are officially introduced as members of the Minnesota Wild in a news conference at Xcel Energy Center. Once they put on their sweaters the crowd erupted with applause. Team owner Craig Leipold said it was the beginning of a new era of Wild hockey.

ST. PAUL -- Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were officially introduced as members of the Minnesota Wild at a noon news conference Monday. (Fox Sports North has compiled video highlights on this page.) Both free agents signed 13-year, $98 million deals with the club last week.

In remarks before the news conference, Wild TV play-by-play announcer Anthony LaPanta called the signings the "most significant" development for the club since NHL hockey returned to Minnesota after the North Stars left for Dallas.

Owner Craig Leipold took the podium afterwards, saying "I can't tell you how happy I am to have Zach and Ryan here today," and welcomed both to the "State of Hockey." Leipold added that nearly 2,000 Wild season tickets have been sold since the signings, and Parise and Suter jerseys "have been flying off the shelf."

The jerseys worn by Parise and Suter at the news conference both had "A's" stitched on the front, but neither knew they'd been named alternate captains.

"We know how great the fans are here," Suter said when asked about their joint decision to come to Minnesota. "I knew I wanted to play at home," Parise added, saying there was no hesitation on his part to sign a 13-year contract.

As for providing leadership, Parise said "we're lead-example-type- guys -- on and off the ice."

Coach Mike Yeo, speaking for the first time since the duo was signed, said "the reason we're all sitting here is we want to win a Stanley Cup."

"We're just very fortunate they decided to come here," General Manager Chuck Fletcher said, on signing the pair. "This is the best-case scenario."

But don't call this "The Decision II." Parise and Suter don't want to be compared to LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining forces with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.

How did the deal go down? The Star Tribune's Michael Russo details the 72 hours before the July 4th signingsin this article.

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