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How Zach Parise made an indelible stamp on American hockey - ESPN

DENVER — Growing up in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, meant Casey Mittelstadt spent countless hours watching Minnesota Wild games and wearing the No. 11 jersey of his favorite player whenever he played pond hockey as a child.

Being a kid from Robbinsville, New Jersey, who grew up watching the New Jersey Devils gave Ross Colton a sense of pride knowing he could someday get to the NHL by studying the traits of a certain hard-working, two-way winger who was his idol.

One of Jason Robertson's biggest entry points into hockey was playing the EA Sports NHL video game. He was 7 and didn't know much about the league, but playing those games allowed him to go through teams. He saw the Devils, he liked the logo and red was his favorite color, so it all fit together. It also made him a fan of a forward who would become a six-time 30-goal scorer.

Each of these anecdotes underscores how much Zach Parise means to hockey in America.

These are among the reasons why many of his Colorado Avalanche teammates want him to rethink his retirement plans and stay around for at least one more year.

«I really hope he doesn't hang them up,» said Avalanche forward Brandon Duhaime, who grew up in South Florida watching Parise play. «I was just telling him yesterday that he's coming into his prime here. He's been really fun to watch and what he contributes to the lineup is super important.»

Parise has repeatedly said this will be his final season. After not signing with a team as a free agent at the start of the season, he joined the Avs on a one-year contract on Jan. 26, with the hopes he could win the Stanley Cup that has eluded him throughout a 19-year career in which he has scored 434 goals and 889 points in 1,254

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