STH's Bowled Over at Team Party

Lauren Lang
Wolves Writer

Not wind, snow nor sleet could stop over 900 loyal season ticket holders who braved the frigid Minnesota elements last week as they made the trek to Brunswick Zone XL in Brooklyn Park for the annual meet the team event.

“This is our most popular event with our season ticket holders," explained Jeff Munneke Vice President of Client Development and Community Youth Basketball. "We have 900 season ticket holders here anxious to meet their favorite players. The biggest thing is it shows that the players want to give back and meet the fans and that’s the most important thing - allowing the fans and our prime constituents, obviously our season ticket holders, a chance to rub shoulders with their favorite players.”

Season ticket holders were greeted by familiar faces at the door where they were welcomed by their Timberwolves representatives along with various food buffets and drinks. Jill Tufano, a five-year season ticket holder was excited to attend the event with her family, mingle with their favorite players and to see some fellow season ticket holders, both new and old.

"We’ve ran into somebody we were season ticket holders with when my son, who’s now seven, was born. Some of these same people are still here from years ago," explained Tufano. “It means a lot to us as fans, because we’ve stuck with them – it’s been a tough season, but we attend as many games as we can and we just appreciate them including us in events like this.”

The players arrived to a warm reception from their fans and immediately spread themselves out among the crowd. Anthony Tolliver and Sebastian Telfair challenged a couple guests to a game of pool, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour took pictures and signed autographs with the eager crowd, meanwhile rookie Wes Johnson was scouting out an opponent among the crowd. “I’m trying to get a challenger to play me in this bike game but I think everybody is kind of scared, everybody ran away, other than that I’m just trying to have fun and meet people.”

The biggest attraction of the evening, besides the two autograph tables and picture area, was the friendly competition that was heating up between Kevin Love and Michael Beasley at the arcade basketball game.

"At the moment I’m beating everybody in basketball," Beasley joked, but went on to explain why these events are both fun and important to their dedicated season ticket holders. “It’s very important because now the fans feel like they know us and they do know us. We see a lot of the same faces, so it’s good to know that they’re genuine and truly our fans. I think it’s very valuable for us to get to know them and vice versa. They come support us every night and we need them.”

Despite being defeated by Beasley, Love added, “They’re great events – we’ve got a lot of fans here. It shows all of the support that we have here – people who have been coming back year after year showing their support. The fans are our sixth man, so having them all here and we’re paying our respects – it’s very nice.”

What really seemed to strike a chord with Wolves season ticket holders was the fact that the entire team was accessible and looking forward to interacting and getting to know them all - all under one roof. Mike Hoemberg, an eight year season ticket holder brought his grandkids along to the special event and had high marks for the organization.

“I think it’s very good. People get to interact and get to know the players a little more and they enjoy the game more. I think it’s great how they do it. It makes the fan more of a fan by doing these things for the people - it makes your tickets worth more.” Mark Kale, a season ticket holder since day one also chimed in on his thoughts about the event and organization. “It’s fantastic - I really enjoy it! I think the organization really wants to extend its product out to its season ticket holders and the people who commit to them year after year and it’s just a little payback I think for some of the fans that help support the whole NBA."
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