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What’s next for Wild rookie Sturm? One more game, then final exams

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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Wild rookie Nico Sturm knew something was up when all of a sudden he was at the front of the line before Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

“That’s one of the things I’ll remember,” Sturm said with a laugh. “It’s just a common practice now, I guess. The guys were super supportive throughout the game and everybody just pumping my tires.”

While the result wasn’t what Sturm wanted in his NHL debut, a 3-0 loss, he tried to look big picture: It signaled the start of his NHL career. He has one more game left, against the Stars in Dallas on Saturday night, April 6, before he returning to Clarkson University to finish out the semester.

“I’ve still got final exams and what not,” Sturm said. “I still have to wrap that up at some point.”

Why would a soon-to-be 24-year-old who just signed a professional contract care about returning to campus?

“I definitely plan on getting my degree (in financial info and analysis),” Sturm said. “It’s important to me. I’m going to wrap up this semester and then I have six classes left and then I’m just going to do one at a time over the next couple of years.”

Yet another example of how impressive Sturm is. He’s polished beyond his years, especially for a young man who first arrived in the U.S. just six years ago.

“After my hockey career is done I’d like to stay connected to the sport and do something in management or what not,” Sturm said. “I think (my degree) is something I can do a whole lot with, and a degree is useful regardless of what happens. It’s important to me. I want to finish it.”

In due time, Sturm will let himself reflect on the fact that he’s currently living out his childhood dream. In the meantime, though, he’s simply trying to make sure he’s doing the right things.

“Once I’m back on campus next week, then everything’s going to settle in and I think I’ll realize what happened,” Sturm said. “I’m probably going to be a little overwhelmed. For now, I can’t get starstruck against the best players in the world. I have to try to stick to my guns, and I thought I did a pretty good job of that (in my NHL debut).”