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Former Minnesotans, current NHL players team up to land 10-foot monster sturgeon

Winnipeg Jets and native Minnesotans Dustin Byfuglien and Matt Hendricks caught a massive sturgeon on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 on the Fraser River In British Columbia. (Courtesy of Sturgeon Slayers via Pioneer Press)

After the Winnipeg Jets notched their first win of the NHL season over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, two Minnesotans took to the Fraser River in British Columbia on their day off and reeled in an even bigger prize.

Roseau-born Dustin Byfuglien and Blaine’s Matt Hendricks caught a behemoth of a white sturgeon on Wednesday during a two-day break before the Jets’ game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The players let their massive catch go after a quick photo op.

The Jets duo fished with Sturgeon Slayers, a luxury fish company based on the Fraser River in British Columbia. Kevin Estrada, the owner of Sturgeon Slayers, said the fish was “9-foot-9 to the fork of the tail. The total length would have been well over 10 feet, but we don’t measure full length (in British Columbia).”

Estrada told the Pioneer Press he occasionally sees that size sturgeon, often nicknamed dinosaurs because of their prehistoric origins and mammoth size, but the catch is “definitively a lifetime fish.”

Byfuglien caught some slack from Jets fans because he was listed out with a lower-body injury on Monday. Hendricks is on injured reserve, but skated at the Father Bauer Arena at the University of British Columbia before the team’s practice, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

Whether he was hampered by his injury or not, Byfuglien seems to be hooked as he caught a smaller (though still huge) sturgeon with former teammate Andrew Ladd in 2014.