Dowell, Wild Road Tour Makes Stop In Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Dowell, Wild Road Tour Makes Stop In Eau Claire

Jake Dowell meets young fans on Monday Jake Dowell meets young fans on Monday
Fans line up for autographs at Wells Fargo Bank in Eau Claire Fans line up for autographs at Wells Fargo Bank in Eau Claire
Wild Forward Jake Dowell Wild Forward Jake Dowell
Wild Goalie Darcy Kuemper Wild Goalie Darcy Kuemper
Wild Defenseman Clayton Stoner Wild Defenseman Clayton Stoner

Eau Claire (WQOW) -- The Minnesota Wild Road Tour made a pit stop in Eau Claire on Monday, with local standout Jake Dowell in tow. 

It was an up and down 2012-2013 season for Dowell -- quite literally. Dowell split the season between the Wild and the team's AHL affiliate in Houston. He remains under contract for another season with the Minnesota, a season he hopes is spent with the big league club.

"It was a bit of an interesting year because of the lockout and not really knowing when we were starting. And once we did, it didn't work out the way I was expecting," says Dowell. "But I went down to Houston and worked on my game and tried to play good hockey and was back by the end of the year and got to get into the lineup at the end. It was nice to be a part of it and move forward and build on that next year with the team."
With a full offseason and training camp ahead of him, Dowell says he will work on tightening up his game.
"It's really about being consistent and playing a little more with the puck. Trying to be the type of player that I am but be a little more confident with the puck. Build up a little confidence in the American League and we get a little more ice time and shore up some things so that I'm a better player when I do come up," adds Dowell.
Despite his NHL career, Dowell says he keeps tabs on what is going on in the Eau Claire hockey community. 
"It's been incredible. Since I was a kid until now, the amount of kids that are in hockey and the teams that are having so much success in Eau Claire. Not only making it to state in high school but winning the tournament and the Blugolds winning last year, it's cool to see the buzz about hockey around here," says Dowell. "It's cool to have the Wild come to my hometown and have the kids be excited to see NHL hockey players."
Joining Dowell in Eau Claire on Monday were defenseman Clayton Stoner and goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Despite last year's lockout and reduced season, the Wild were able to make the team's first trip to the playoffs since 2008. Both players say last season was an important step towards the team's ultimate goal. 
"You know, I think we just have to raise the bar and have higher expectations and keep moving forward and keep growing. Because we did take a step, we just wish it was a little bigger of a step," says Stoner.
Kuemper adds: "There's an end goal, and that's winning the Stanley Cup. Making the playoffs, that was a great experience and a great base for us to build off of, but we just have to make sure that we continue to build on that and get better every year until we get to our end goal, which is the Stanley Cup."


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