Jordyn Leopold is thrilled that she’ll be able to watch her dad, NHL defenseman Jordan Leopold, play for their hometown team the Minnesota Wild. But the 10-year-old (soon to be 11) is most excited simply to have him back at the dinner table for their favorite meal of steak and rice.
“I was so excited when my mom told me [he would be coming home], I couldn’t even wait,” Jordyn says. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The St. Louis Blues traded Leopold to the Columbus Blue Jackets in November. After the move, the 34-year-old found himself on a team of younger players even further away from his wife and four children who were living in Minnesota.
The Leopold’s oldest daughter missed her father and thought writing a letter would be a way to get her feelings down on a sheet of paper. In January, she wrote to the Minnesota coaching staff asking them to acquire her father so that he wouldn’t be so “lonly” and her family wouldn’t be without him.
Though she prefers to play every position on the soccer field, Jordyn showed off her hockey knowledge in the letter as well, writing, “…the Wild have not been winning games and you lovly coaches are most likely mad about that, but your team needs some more D men.”
When Jordyn’s mom, Jamie, found the note, she knew that her daughter was trying to take care of their family.
“She told me about it and I didn’t find it until the next morning,” Jamie says. “She left it on the counter. I just started reading it, and I didn’t know what it was at first. And then of course I started crying because it was so sweet.”
Jamie shared the letter on social media and thought that would be it.
But everything changed this week.
Leopold had dreamed of playing for the Wild since his days as a star at the University of Minnesota. His NHL success took him to several teams – teams like Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, St. Louis, Columbus – but he was never able to play for Minnesota.
The Leopold’s dreams came true shortly before the NHL trade deadline on Monday afternoon. Without seeing Jordyn’s letter, Columbus reached a deal with Minnesota that finally brought Leopold to his hometown team. Both teams had been aware that Leopold wanted to be closer to home.
Later in the day, local radio station KFAN discussed Jordyn’s letter and it became a trending topic on Twitter.
Jordyn never thought her words would impact her father’s return, but says, “I guess it did.”
Jamie and her husband had talked about the Wild as a possibility for years.
“He played for the Minnesota Gophers in the early 2000s and it was so fun,” she says. “It was more of a family atmosphere. So now with him playing for the Wild, our team feels like we’re finally home.”
And if the Wild need any more help from Jordyn, coaching or otherwise?
“It’s still a possibility,” she says.
Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images
Biggest Story of NHL Trade Deadline: A Hockey Player's Daughter's Letter
In The Mag This Month