STOCKHOLM — The Wild flew across the Atlantic Ocean looking for four points. They left with half of that. That’s one way to look at their two games in the NHL Global Series.
“We came here for the results, and that’s all that matters,” defenseman Marcus Johansson said. “We didn’t get the results we wanted.”
No, they didn’t.
The Wild lost Sunday’s game to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime in the final game at Avicii Arena in Stockholm after William Nylander took the puck coast to coast and beat Johansson and then goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
But the other way to look at it, a more positive spin that some of his teammates projected after the game, is that those two points very easily could have been one had the Wild not clawed their way back from a two-goal deficit Sunday with some solid play in the third period, or could have easily been four.
In less than three minutes, the Wild (5-8-4) erased a 3-1 deficit in the third period, using goals from defenseman Jake Middleton and forward Mats Zuccarello to do so.
“They came pretty hard at us. I thought we weathered the storm for the most of it,” Fleury said. I loved the way we battled back in the game. We played the second and third … played very well. Just disappointing to come up on the short end there.”
The loss is the Wild’s fifth straight, though they earned a point in each of their games abroad, falling a day earlier in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators.
Both losses came after the Wild had struck first. Sunday, they did so within the first few minutes of the game with defenseman Jon Merrill putting the puck in the net just 2:37 in. But a promising start was followed by 15 minutes to end the first period that coach Dean Evason described as “very poor.”
The Maple Leafs (10-5-2) scored a pair of goals in those 15 minutes, with the Wild surrendering yet another goal on the penalty kill. That one, from star Auston Matthews, tied the score at the time and towards the end of the period, former Gophers forward Matthew Knies scored to give Toronto a lead.
Fleury allowed the Maple Leafs’ third goal of the game 4:22 into the third period, before Middleton and Zuccarello each scored to tie the game and eventually send it to overtime, where the Wild were unable to capitalize on their chances.
“Overtime, we had golden looks and we just, for whatever reason, aren’t scoring right now,” Evason said. “… We have the puck in great spots and we miss the net by a couple of margins. We outshoot them, we probably out-chanced them, we probably do a lot of really good things in that hockey game but don’t get rewarded, but our belief has to be positive that it is going to turn around.”
After one Swede, Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek, had an opportunity to be the overtime hero in his home country, but was unable to convert, it ended up being another Swede who scored the game-winner, to the delight of much of the crowd at Avicii Arena.
“I thought I had him on the outside enough, but he’s a very skilled player,” Johansson said. “He got a little bit of room and that was enough. Frustrating.”
Indeed, it was a frustrating trip for the Wild, who came so close to leaving town with a pair of wins but just couldn’t finish.
“We’ve got a lot of good things to take away from this trip. Came together as a team, had some fun off the ice and at the same time we found our game a little bit on the ice, and that’s exactly what we came here to do. We could have easily had four points.”
One injured in residential fire in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS — One person is being treated for burn injuries from a fire at a residential building.
The fire happened on the 600 block of Lowry Ave N. just before 10 p.m. on Thursday night.
Fire crews are on scene working to extinguish the fire.
This is a devolping story, we will continue to update when we learn new information.
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Meet Max Zappia, Minnesota’s newest cannabis regulator
This interview was first published in Nuggets, the Star Tribune’s weekly newsletter chronicling legal cannabis in Minnesota. Sign up for Nuggets here.
Last week, Minnesota’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) named Max Zappia as its implementation chief regulatory officer, a role in which he will “lead the design, implementation, and launch of the regulatory structure for the OCM.” Zappia is on temporary reassignment from the state Department of Commerce, where he serves as deputy commissioner for financial institutions. Zappia spoke with Nuggets earlier this week about his new gig and his previous experience with banking issues for cannabis businesses. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Please tell us about your personal history and how you got into government.
I had the great fortune of graduating college right at the peak of the 2008-09 financial crisis. When I speak with students, I always like to put a graph up at unemployment and point to the very top, that was me. I was encouraged to apply as a state bank examiner and was extra privileged to have been hired in that role. I worked at the [Minnesota] Department of Commerce for the next 14 years, including being a supervisor for more than the last 10 and then deputy commissioner for financial institutions for the last 6 1/2 years.
As the deputy commissioner for financial institutions, did your role intersect with cannabis?
Yeah, it did. Even before my role as deputy commissioner, there was a state medical program and we were aware of challenges and questions around access to banking. Fast forward to the 2018 [federal] farm bill, where hemp products got their own specific carve-out as a result of that, we worked in early 2019 to provide guidance for banking of hemp-related products — specifically ones that met the [less than 0.3% THC threshold to qualify as hemp rather than marijuana]. From that point on, it was pretty clear that at some point in time there would be an adult cannabis program. So we were talking to our bankers working on what is now the SAFER Banking Act and talking not just at the congressional level, but also with some of the federal regulators, which had more limitations in what they could potentially say or provide guidance on than some of their state counterparts. Since the [Minnesota legalization] law was passed, the department has been working closely with pretty much the same group. I believe they are putting together guidance. We also had a good amount of banks that were starting to approach us to talk through what the new environment would mean for them, even if they weren’t considering offering service.
How would you describe the role of the implementation chief regulatory officer for OCM?
Preface this by saying that my fifth day doesn’t start till tomorrow, I think the role is really to ensure that there is a safe, accessible and fair market for adult cannabis for those that want to participate in that market. And to also help identify where that’s not happening and take action.
What are your top concerns when it comes to regulating cannabis?
The law as written does provide some clarity around what the regulations are. A lot of it comes down to proper licensure. That’s something I have a lot of experience with. We also have advertising and zoning restrictions. And then, also, a lot of labeling clarity. Consumers can’t be expected to make effective choices if there’s outright fraud or misrepresentation in the market. Creating a system that allows them to make those choices is a big part of regulation.
Do you see any parallels between regulating financial institutions and regulating cannabis businesses that could inform how you do your job?
I think there are a lot of them. There’s the interaction between state and federal rules that is certainly at play here. There are considerations for financial solvency for businesses so they can provide consumers with the services that they expect. I’d take a step back and say conceptually, one of the things I learned in my time in financial institutions is to approach regulation with the assumption that you share positive core values. Going back to what we’re trying to protect against — unlicensed activity and mislabeling — I will assume that those are things the industry also sees as detrimental to the long-term viability of the industry. So we will approach regulation assuming a set of shared values until such time that a business shows us that’s not the case. That’s not to say we won’t disagree on important issues. I’m not that optimistic. But even when we do, there are going to be things about the value of the market and the importance of safety within the market that we do agree on.
I’d like to talk a bit more about cannabis businesses and banking. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what is legal, what is not legal and what types of banks might work with cannabis businesses. Are there banks that are currently providing financial services to cannabis businesses?
I looked it up this morning, based on reporting, there are about 1,496 banks and 177 credit unions across the country that are providing any kind of services [to cannabis businesses]. I would suspect you would see a predominant amount of community finance institutions — so smaller community banks, smaller community credit unions — that are providing services. You will likely see deposit account services. By the time you get to lending, you start to see significantly lower numbers of institutions providing those services. For individual businesses looking to get involved in [cannabis], they should probably look at developing relationships with community bankers, understanding what their needs and concerns are, knowing that this bank might not be the right fit for them. But relationship-based banking, including credit unions, is always a good starting point for small businesses. This will be especially true [for cannabis businesses].
Do you foresee OCM providing resources to help businesses navigate this confusing banking landscape?
I think one of the best strengths I bring to this role is a good understanding of the banking industry and banking needs. I can’t speak for state banking regulatory policy and we can’t be giving legal advice for a whole bunch of reasons. I am optimistic that even within those rails, there’s a way that the Office of Cannabis Management can be a resource for businesses that want to develop effective banking relationships.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I am already very impressed by the quality of staff that are working on implementation and the amount of progress that has been done. Some of that is not as clear to a third-party observer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. It’s a very big task and I’m excited to watch what we’re able to accomplish in 2024.
East Grand Forks’ Hugo’s honored as a Minnesota Department of Ag ‘Retailer of the Year’
GRAND FORKS — East Grand Forks grocery store Hugo’s Family Market is among the seven 2024 Retailers of the Year, as designated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
The award is presented in partnership with the Minnesota Grocers Association. Awards will be presented at an event in the spring; each winner will be presented a plaque and exclusive rights to use the “Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year 2024” logo in marketing and in-store displays.
They also will be noted for being “champions of all things local,” according to a Department of Agriculture media release.
“We are always proud to carry local, Minnesota grown produce in our stores,” said Cammy Busta, Hugo’s produce director. “Our teams do an excellent job of merchandising and creating a great customer experience.”
Hugo’s earned the designation in the Northwest Region. Other winners were:
- Northeast: Chris’ Food Center, Sandstone.
- West Central: Elden’s Fresh Foods, Alexandria.
- Southwest: Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, Waconia.
- Southeast: Nilssen’s Foods, Zumbrota.
- Twin Cities: Kowalski’s Market, Grand Avenue.
- People’s Choice: Festival Foods, Hugo.
In a release sent to the media, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen commended the winning grocers for “their creative efforts to promote fresh, local foods from Minnesota Grown members.”
“When consumers have the chance to eat more foods grown and produced by their neighbors, it benefits Minnesota’s farmers, grocers, and communities,” Petersen said.
The MDA release said judging was based on a number of factors, “including the number of Minnesota Grown products featured and the number of Minnesota Grown farmers and producers that the grocer sourced from.”
Also considered were advertisements, store displays, marketing via social media and events that promote “Minnesota Grown.”
“Grocers are the foundation of the communities they serve and are incredibly proud of their innovative local partnerships from farm to fork,” MGA President Jamie Pfuhl said in the release. “The success of the Minnesota Grown program is driven by the exceptional efforts of all in the food industry. We are proud to play a role in this collective effort that showcases and celebrates innovative partnerships and brings wonderful local products to our customers.”
According to the MDA, the
Minnesota Grown Program
is a statewide partnership between the MDA and Minnesota producers of specialty crops and livestock. It was created over 35 years ago by specialty crop growers to differentiate their produce from produce grown elsewhere.
Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of “staff.” Often, the “staff” byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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