The story of Jordan Leopold is simply one of hard work and family values. Born and raised in Golden Valley, Minnesota, Jordan Leopold is a household name around these parts. “Leo” as his teammates called him, was a standout defenseman for the Falcons of Armstrong High School. Instead of staying in Minnesota for his senior year, Jordan headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan to join the Team USA under-18 program for their inaugural season. Then, he went on to play college hockey for the University of Minnesota. In his final season, he led the Golden Gophers to a national title game. This game was one for the history books and stories of how it ended are still told to this day. Trailing by one with less than a minute to play, the Gophers tied the game after an offensive zone faceoff to force overtime. In the overtime session on the powerplay, Leopold sent a shot towards the net. It deflected to teammate Grant Potulny who put it home and sent the streets of downtown St. Paul into a frenzy. After the Gophers captured their first National Championship since 1979, it was announced that Leopold had won the Hobey Baker award as the nation's most outstanding player.
The script continued to write itself after his successful career with the Gophers. Jordan played for eight different NHL teams over 13 seasons, but it was in 2015 when the most meaningful moment of his career took place. Following a letter addressed to the Minnesota Wild coaching staff from Jordan’s 10 year old daughter - the man who grew up in-state, married his high school sweetheart, won a National Championship and a Hobey Baker award at the University of Minnesota and played on the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2006 games - was acquired by the Minnesota Wild just minutes before the trade deadline. Jordan was greeted that night at MSP International Airport by his wife and kids for an emotional homecoming. We often hear stories of professional athletes and the thrill of the lifestyle that they live, but in this case, it was family over everything.
When Leo first stepped onto the ice at the Xcel Energy Center on March 3rd against the Ottawa Senators he was welcomed with one of the loudest ovations that building has ever heard. Jordan Leopold is a humble man who is driven by his family and his passion for the game of ice hockey. The passion he reflects in his life, on and off the ice, should be a simple lesson to all of us. Jordan Leopold is the definition of UNRL.
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