2022 Winter Classic between Wild, Blues will be great show, Mauer says


MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer is more than familiar with Target Field, the former Minnesota Twins catcher and St. Paul, Minnesota native having played five of his 15 major league seasons with the Twins at the stadium, which opened in 2010.

Mauer said the host site for the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues outdoors on Jan. 1 (7 p.m. ET; TNT, SN1, TVAS, NHL LIVE) suits the diamond at Target Field.

“That’s something out there,” Mauer said Wednesday. “We’ve been trying to get this game here for a long time here in Minnesota. I’m excited for the fans; I’m excited for the community. As you’ll see, I’m sure they’ll put on a great show. There is going to be a lot of excitement surrounding the game. I’m happy to be a very small part of that, so it will be fun.”

The six-time American League All-Star and 2009 American League Most Valuable Player helped the NHL initially announce St. Louis as Minnesota’s opponent with former Twins first baseman and teammate Justin Morneau on Feb. 23, 2020.


[WATCH: Joe Mauer talks about the 2022 NHL Winter Classic]


Morneau not only helped Mauer, a three-time American League Gold Glove and Batting Title winner, with the announcement but has assisted Mauer with his hockey game a bit, too.

For the past five years, Mauer, Morneau and other retired MLB players and retired NHL players in the metro area have been getting together for an outdoor game in Morneau’s backyard. The list includes former NHL forward Mark Parrish and former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie.

“You never know who’s going to show up each and every Wednesday,” Mauer said. “We have a lot of fun. It’s a way for us to keep in contact with each other and get out there and get a little bit of a workout in.”

And it once happened that the baseball players defeated the hockey players on the ice.

“One time we did (win),” Mauer said with a chuckle. “I try not to mention that a whole lot because those guys play down to our level quite a bit. We have a lot of fun. We enjoy seeing those guys, the relationships we’ve had for a long time, some of those guys played for the Wild for years and the Twins, so it’s a good group of guys.”

Mauer said he will be in attendance cheering on the hometown hockey team at his home away from home come New Year’s Day.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of games here, and a lot of different events here at Target Field, and I feel the organization does a great job putting on events,” Mauer said. “Collaborating with the NHL, this is going to be something special. I’m excited to check it out here on Jan. 1.”

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