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Updated: February 13th, 2014 11:15am
Readers: Would you prefer a Stanley Cup or Olympic gold medal(s)?

Readers: Would you prefer a Stanley Cup or Olympic gold medal(s)?

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Winning an Olympic gold medal in men's hockey would be nice, but winning a Stanley Cup is a more important pursuit, according to Wild owner Craig Leipold.

Leipold told Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press that he'd prefer the top trophy in the NHL to the glory of winning an Olympic gold medal.

The Wild entered the Olympic break with an 11-4-2 record, after closing December in a tailspin.

Olympians include Zach Parise (USA Team Captain), Ryan Suter (USA Assistant Captain), Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland), Mikael Granlund (Finland).  Mikko Koivu also made Team Finland, but ankle surgery kept him from competing in the Sochi Games.

Here is what Leipold told the Pioneer Press:

"Yes, it's going to be great to watch our players play for their countries, but the most important thing is winning a Stanley Cup -- it is not winning the gold," Leipold said. "That is my feeling, and I'm going to say it right now.

"We work every day, our team does, to win the Stanley Cup. It would be wonderful if some of our players were able to win a gold medal. But our sights are still on the Stanley Cup.

"And I want them back healthy. That's the first thing I'm hoping for is for all players who went over (to Sochi), I want them all to come back healthy."

The NHL as a whole may agree with Leipold. The league has not committed to sending its players to the Olympics beyond the Sochi Games.

Which would you prefer, hockey fans? A gold medal for your favorite country? Or a Stanley Cup for your favorite NHL team? Consider men's and/or women's hockey for your answer, because there are plenty of players with Gophers ties on the US women's team.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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