Minn. sportswear company to outfit Super Bowl athletes - KMSP-TV

Minn. sportswear company to outfit Super Bowl athletes

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EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesotans know how to weather cold, and a local sportswear company that specializes in keeping athletes warm has hit the biggest stage in professional sports -- the Super Bowl.

"We are truly the cold-weather experts," Priscilla Magana, with WSI Sports, told Fox 9 News.

It may be hard to believe that a company based inside a nondescript industrial park office block in Eagan could play a role in who wins this year's Super Bowl, but that's exactly what will happen because the apparel company churns out high-performance, cold-weather undergarments for athletes.

"This is where all the magic happens," Magana continued.

All the gear that will guard players from the cold are made by hand in the bone-chilling North Star state. Joel Wiens launched the company 24 years ago in Windom, Minn., using the $3,000 he got from his high school graduation.

Wiens hit the big time when the San Francisco 49ers used his gear under their uniforms for a frigid January playoff game at Lambeau Field.

"They loved it," he recalled.

The team won, and word quickly spread about their secret weapon against the cold -- technology dubbed Wikmax Heatr, a special fiber that heats the skin when it is activated by sweat. In theory, players wearing WSI equipment should be more comfortable when the temperature drops.

"It's about 40 percent warmer than other fibers on the market," Wiens explained. "As long as it's against the skin, you should feel the activation and warmth."

Last Friday, Wiens and other company officials got the dream order. The Seattle Seahawks wanted what their rivals had in order to get a leg up on the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold weather city. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30s for Sunday's game.

"This is our biggest play," Wiens said. "I've never had this much publicity. Literally, we are getting calls from around the country."

It's not just the Super Bowl that will have WSI in the spotlight either. Company officials are also heading to Sochi for the Winter Olympics to outfit the U.S. ski jump team.

"Our thing isn't to be the biggest, but we want to be the best -- and to have fun with what we do," Weins said.

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