Super Marian

It's okay to call Marian Gaborik hockey's next big star. Just don't say it to his coach.

Updated: March 19, 2003, 2:17 PM ET
By By Lindsay Berra, ESPN The Magazine
Theirs is a hateful kind of cold, the kind that actually hurts. Night after night, Wild fans venture out into the frigid Minnesota air to coax life from the frozen engines of their cars. Some cross the icy Mississippi River from Minneapolis, or drive in from the eastern 'burbs, or trudge through the streets of St. Paul. Every game night, 18,568 of themmany wearing Wild No.10 sweatersfill the Xcel Center to the brim. Each time he touches the puck, they stand, they ooooh, they aaaah. The din increases with his every stride and crescendos with the shot. If this were a movie, it would seem hokey. But this is Minnesota, and there's nothing contrived about the adoration for Marian Gaborik. The fans know hockey, and they know greatness when they see it.