Just mere hours before the NHL trade deadline, Craig Leopold and the Minnesota Wild announced the most unconventional trade in hockey history: the entire roster of the Wild traded for a copy of the 1996 hit sports video game Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey.
It’s reported that the whole team, including the injured Mikko Koivu, overpaid Zach Parise, and season veteran Eric Staal were sent to the Games N Go video game store in the Rosedale Mall. The combined roster worth about $76 million, including buyouts and retained money was traded in for the lone copy of the Nintendo 64 game, just 4 days after it was traded to the store.
Team officials stated that the N64 classic would be more entertaining for Wild fans than any of the players currently under contract. It’s classic arcade style would give fans something to cheer for, while its high scoring opportunities would put more points on the board than Jason Zucker.
“It’s clear many people had lost interest in this team” Craig Leopold stated “So we figured we’d search for that diamond in the rough, but something still worth seeing in HD”
An unnamed scout for another NHL team thought maybe the Wild would’ve gone after a copy of Blades of Steel or Mutant League Hockey, noting Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey is “kind of a lesser known hockey video game classic,” but notes the constant excitement and state of the art 1996 3D graphics give it an edge in the competition.
Initially, Leopold was in talks with Summit Amusement Company in St Paul to send in the full roster for a bubble hockey machine. Talks stalled however, as Summit was unwilling to take faltered goalkeeper Devan Dubnyk.
Gamestop was also approached for a deal, but without a Power Up Rewards membership, the team would have only received $22.14 for all of their players.