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Parise: “Every kid growing up in Minnesota would love to play with the Wild”

Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center on February 2, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Canadiens 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Shortly after announcing the signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Minnesota held a conference call to introduce its new players to the media.

For Parise, the call culminated a stressful period in which only two real suitors emerged -- his new team and his old team.

“It came down between New Jersey and Minnesota,” Parise explained. “It was very hard. I loved playing in New Jersey. First class organization and I can’t say enough about Lou.

“I have great friends in New Jersey and I’m a loyal person. I loved playing there. I told Lou that, too.”

That said, Parise is excited about returning to Minnesota and playing for his hometown team -- he’ll be wearing No. 11, in case you were curious.

The 27-year-old was born and raised in Minneapolis, played midget hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s (in Faribault) and went to university at nearby North Dakota.

His father, J.P., was a former North Stars player that still lives in the area.

“It was a very big part of it,” Parise said of the prospect of playing at home. “Every kid growing up in Minnesota would love to play with the Wild. That’s the way it is.

“I grew up here and I love coming back here in the summers. I just thought it would be great to be here year round.”

Parise then ended the call to properly embrace summer.

“I’m going right into the lake after this,” he said. “And shutting my phone off.”