Wolves, Sanford Continue Partnership On, Off The Court

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Over the past five years, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sanford Health have developed an ongoing partnership rooted in their shared regional marketplace and their focus on sport, fitness and health in the Upper Midwest.

Today, the two will team up once again in Fargo as the Timberwolves open up their preseason schedule against the Indiana Pacers at the Fargodome. The game, which tips off at 7 p.m., is sponsored by Sanford Health, and the community outreach that led up to the exhibition was a joint partnership between the two organizations helping to connect with fans in the area.

The Wolves’ staff has been in Fargo since late last week, and since the team arrived in town on Tuesday players and staff have been part of several events meeting and working with local fans. Center Greg Stiemsma visited Sanford POWER Center on Tuesday night and signed autographs and center Nikola Pekovic visited patients at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo this afternoon.

Wolves President Chris Wright said the partnership between Sanford and the Timberwolves/Lynx organizations aligns in several categories, focusing on orthopedics, sports medicine and breast health research.

“There are so many synergistic things that work for them that are also needs for us,” Wright said. “So first to be able to truly partner with one of the two companies’ core competences is really remarkable, and that’s the power of the relationship. When you put two iconic brands together like that, then obviously you can achieve a lot together.”

Over the course of the partnership, the Wolves have teamed up with Sanford Health to help raise funds to find cures for Type I diabetes and breast cancer, including working with the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation to help prevent and treat breast cancer. This past summer money was raised by the team and donated back to the foundation to help prevent, treat and research curing breast cancer.

The Wolves and Lynx have also worked closely with Dr. Michael Bergeron and members of the Sports Orthopedics and Medicine staff to help improve their performance on the court. In the past few years, Sanford Health has teamed up with the Wolves to bring basketball games to Sioux Falls and now Fargo, with this preseason game being the first played in the City of Fargo since 2002.

“We are pleased and humbled to be working with the very professional and progressive T-Wolves staff and their players,” said Kevin Lampe, Sanford Health corporate vice president of orthopedics and sports medicine practice. “We are anxious to continue finding opportunities where Sanford’s expertise and personnel can further assist the T-Wolves toward becoming one of the elite NBA teams.”

Sanford is an integrated health system headquartered in Fargo, N.D. and Sioux Falls, S.D., and consists of two organizations that merged in 2009. Sanford is now the largest, rural, non-for-profit healthcare system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in seven states. They have 35 hospitals and nearly 1,200 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine, and with 25,000 employees Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota.

Like the Timberwolves, Sanford Health has a significant presence in the Upper Midwest.

Wright said their region marries up well with the Timberwolves’ fan base, and together the two sides are able to come together and align their focuses around similar goals that can help communities in the area.

“They have a massive presence obviously in the Fargo marketplace. We are able to put up events around some major initiatives with some of the assets, whether it be players, whether it be Crunch the mascot, our dance team, etc.,” Wright said. “VIP parties for them with David Kahn and myself speaking to their senior leadership group. Everything sort of works out very, very well when you have a very active marketing company in the same region as you have and you can align.”

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