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Former Badgers Suter and Dowell join the Wild

The Minnesota Wild made the bang thus far in NHL free-agency on the Fourth of July, landing both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Both agreed to 13-year, $98 million deals with Minnesota.

Parise had a 69-point campaign while leading the New Jersey Devils to the Eastern Conference title last season. Suter recorded 46 points with the Nashville Predators.

Parise was born in Minneapolis and says family played a role in his decision to come to the Wild.

Suter is a Madison native and played his college hockey for the Wisconsin Badgers. His wife is from Bloomington, Minn. He says that was a consideration for his decision, as well.

Wild officials says hundreds of new season ticket orders poured into the office on the Fourth.

Jake Dowell also goes to the Wild

Suter wasn't the only former Wisconsin hockey player agreed to a free-agent contract with the Wild on the Fourth of July.

Earlier in the day, the Wild signed former Badger Jake Dowell to a two-year deal. Dowell is from Eau Claire, where he played hockey for Memorial High School. He played in Hudson Sports and Civic Center in the Old Abes' away contest with the Hudson High School Raiders. He is reported to be a good friend of Suter's from their days together at UW-Madison.

Suter and Parise were the league's most sought-after free agents. They talked with each other last season about their desire to play on the same team.

The 27-year-old Suter ranks fourth in Nashville Predators' history with 542 games and 200 assists, and he's tied for eighth with 238 points.

Suter had 46 points last season, including eight goals. And he had a goal and three assists in 10 playoff games.

Dowell, who's also 27, had two goals and seven points with the Dallas Stars last season. He's a five-year NHL veteran, playing 154 games with the Stars and Chicago.