Team scrambles for backups

Updated: December 18, 2009, 11:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OTTAWA -- A van carrying equipment for the Minnesota Wild caught fire on Friday afternoon and left the team scrambling ahead of its Saturday game against the Ottawa Senators.

The fire occurred in the parking lot of Scotiabank Place, where the van had been driven following the team's afternoon practice at a neighboring facility.

"It was a five-minute drive," head equipment trainer Tony DaCosta said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Firefighters took care of the flames, which were located in the back of the van. Police said there were no injuries.

"There was a fire in an equipment van in the parking lot at Scotiabank Place [Friday] afternoon. No one was injured, but some of the Minnesota Wild's hockey equipment was damaged," the team said in a statement. "The Wild is in the process of taking inventory to determine the damage to the equipment."

The team said that goaltender Nicklas Backstrom's equipment was destroyed.

The team added that its game against Ottawa on Saturday would be played as scheduled, and according to the Wild's Web site, assistant equipment manager Brent Proulx was to return to Minnesota to retrieve new equipment.

A plane scheduled to carry the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks home after their game at Cleveland on Friday night will take Proulx and two assistants back to Minnesota. The trio will then accompany the gear to Ottawa on Saturday morning.

"I've never heard of anything like this in my life," Wild winger Martin Havlat told the Ottawa Sun. "When I first heard about it, I thought it was some kind of a joke."

Havlat expressed concern about being able to adjust to any backup equipment. "How we could play with all new equipment, especially the skates. We spend two weeks trying to break in skates," Havlat said. "I mean, even if we didn't play [Saturday], we've still got a game Monday and another one Wednesday."

The Wild beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Thursday night and had traveled to Ottawa ahead of their 7 p.m. ET game against the Senators.

Among the issues with backup or replacement equipment -- including knee braces, helmets, goalie pads -- is that much of it is specifically fitted to the player, and there likely won't be enough time before the game to make all of the necessary adjustments.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.