Stiemsma Meets Fans At Sanford POWER Center

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Less than an hour after arriving in Fargo on Tuesday, Wolves center Greg Stiemsma was out in the community meeting fans prior to Wednesday’s preseason opener against Indiana at the Fargodome.

Stiemsma and mascot Crunch met with kids at the Sanford POWER Center, a personalized athletic training facility designed to meet the training and physical conditioning needs of athletes and individuals who want to be fit and healthy year-round, signing autographs, taking photos and getting to know the fans.

Wednesday’s preseason game is sponsored by Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls and Fargo, and Stiemsma—just beginning his first year in Minnesota—took the opportunity to connect with his new fan base.

“It feels great. Anytime I get to interact with the fans, interact with the people especially up here—I have some connections to Sanford Health,” Stiemsma said. “Any little thing I can give back a little bit of my time I was more than happy to do it.”

Stiemsma spent the evening signing autographs and meeting with his young fans, ranging from elementary school to high school in age. It was one of his first opportunities to sign photos of himself in Wolves gear, and he also hadn’t spent much time meeting fans with Crunch during the meeting.

By night’s end, he was familiar with both.

Stiemsma played lightning with a group of 15 kids while Crunch propped himself behind the backboard about 10 feet off the ground. After the game of lightning, Stiemsma signed more autographs while Crunch meandered around the facility, jumping over hurdles and pushing weights around with fans on the 25-yard Field Turf football field in the middle of the POWER Center.

Meanwhile, Stiemsma met with members of the Sanford POWER Center staff and surrounding area coaches, getting to know what takes place in the facility. The facility offers private physical therapy rooms, four 50-yard running lanes, half a basketball court, free weights and cardio equipment. Next door is the Scheel’s Arena, which provides ice for local hockey teams, and the Family Wellness facility.

“[The facilities] are second to none,” Stiemsma said. “This bubble up here, the POWER Center, there is one in Sioux Falls that we used to work out at. It’s pretty much the same thing, and they don’t hold anything back. It’s a great place to work out.”

The objective of the POWER program is to safely meet the training and physical conditioning needs of all athletes at all levels, according to Training sessions are led by National Strength and Conditioning Association certified specialist, and Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides sports medicine coverage, athletic training and performance improvements for are athletes.

Stiemsma said it shows how far facilities have come even since he was growing up. He said with kids using these resources to help stay in shape and improve their skills, it’s good for the future of sports like basketball.

“The level of coaches they have, the level of trainers are the best around,” Stiemsma said. “It’s fun to be part of that. It’s fun to see [Sanford’s] growth over the last few years. They’ve stepped up everything…in almost every way. The facilities have been outstanding, the expansions have been great.”

Not only did Stiemsma get a chance to see the facilities, but he also got to meet with young fans who are excited to have the Timberwolves visiting the Fargo area.

“It’s always fun,” Stiemsma said. “It seems kind of crazy that kids want my autograph. It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around that concept sometimes. But anytime I’m able to, I’m more than happy to. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and how excited they get about the pictures is a blast.”

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