INTERNATIONAL FALLS (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild will sponsor musher Keith Ailis of Ray, Minn., in the Iditarod dog race next March.
The NHL team agreed to provide $20,000 for Ailis, 26, and his dog team to participate for the first time in the 1,100-mile race through the Alaska wilderness.
The Wild notified Ailis of its sponsorship on Thursday, just ahead of Saturday's registration deadline for the race. Ailis has trained and raced Alaskan huskies for 13 years.
He started looking for sponsors earlier this year after building a team of 16 dogs with equal strength.
The Wild plans to introduce Ailis at an event in January and will ask him to make appearances. "Hopefully it will work into something that's ongoing," Ailis said. He said he hopes to raise another $10,000 from local businesses.
The Iditarod commemorates the efforts of mushers and sled dogs who relayed lifesaving diphtheria serum from Anchorage to Nome in 1925.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.