Minnesota Kid Finds Home With Gulls

Justin Kloos has spent his life in the Midwest but now calls San Diego home

Justin Kloos plays for San Diego. He’s just never played IN San Diego.

In mid-January the Anaheim Ducks acquired Kloos from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Pontus Aberg. Being traded was a very interesting experience for Kloos.

The 25-year-old forward was born in Minnesota … went to high school in Minnesota … played collegiately at the University of Minnesota … signed as a free agent with Minnesota Wild … was sent to their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild (a few hours from Minnesota) … and is now in San Diego.

“Kind of been a whirlwind,” said Kloos after his first practice in his new town this week. “The All-Star break then being up (in the NHL) for four or five days and being on the road so I haven’t been able to really see the city too much but all I hear is good things and I’m looking forward to getting to know the area.”

Kloos was with the Ducks for a few games and played for the Gulls on the road in Ontario so he hasn’t actually been on the ice in America’s Finest City yet; but he already had a good idea of what’s awaiting him. That game against the Reign was the one where a boatload of Gulls fans went north and took over their arena, causing the players to go celebrate in front of what sounded like a home crowd.

“That was eye opening that first game in Ontario to see the fan base all there causing a ruckus,” said Kloos. “That was pretty cool. I hadn’t seen that in the American Hockey League yet so obviously I’ll get a bigger taste of it Friday night in my first home game with a Gulls sweater on.”

That will be against the Reign again but this time on Sports Arena Blvd. Now, Minnesota is one of America’s hockey hotbeds so for Kloos to be impressed with San Diego’s hockey fans is truly saying something. Of course, the Gulls once again lead the AHL in average attendance so it’s not all that surprising that he’s liking his new fan base.

He’s also liking his new team, which happens to be one of the hottest clubs in hockey. After winning 11 of their last 14 games the Gulls are happy to add more experience for the playoff push.

“The guys have been awesome. Super receptive,” said Kloos. “You can tell it’s a good group right away.”

Oh, and to keep the whole Minnesota to San Diego thread alive, the last game Kloos played for the Wild … was against the Gulls. He had an assist in that game to help beat San Diego. Kloos will have a chance to make it up to his new mates on Saturday when the Wild comes to Pechanga Arena.

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