October 10, 2011

This Texan Loves Hockey and the Dallas Stars

The air is fresh and crisp, the oppressive heat of summertime a distant speck in the rear view mirror. Speeding towards autumn, beautiful sounds echo from all directions. The clash of the boards, the ping of the puck..  It’s that time of the year again. It’s the time of the year when I have to explain why hockey is awesome to my fellow Texans. You see, people look at me as a grand oddity where I live. I’m one of a handful of die-hard hockey fans in a rural, mostly agrarian west Texas.

I’ve always been a bit of a manic hockey fan but when the North Stars moved to Dallas during the peak of my childhood, I really became addicted. There’s just something magical about this game. The grace and speed paired with the brutality, it’s a yin and yang.. a veritable microcosm of life in general. Many times I have tried to share this love with friends and family. I’ve tried to break them of their love of pro football; a dull and plodding game by comparison. They have the gall to say hockey is too slow when their game of choice has 10 seconds of action, 30 seconds of professional loitering. Repeat. I’ve converted quite a few of my friends to casual hockey fans but as much as it pains me to say so..the Sun Belt will NEVER be an NHL hotspot. We have the CHL here, and they’re opening to arenas so desolate even the Islanders are shocked at the empty chairs. Brian Sandalow from the Monitor in the Rio Grande Valley has reported that the Laredo Bucks (former champions) won’t even have radio broadcasts this year. Things aren’t looking much brighter in the NAHL, another minor league with quite a few Texas franchises. Even the Dallas Stars had empty seats at their home opener last week. Enough empty seats that they stuck out like a sore thumb each time the camera panned. Our AHL franchises are doing generally well, thankfully.

No matter what happens, you can’t take the ice out of my soul. I will always be a hockey fan. Even if our minor leagues struggle, I will remain. With the ownership situation finally reaching a resolution in Big D, look for fans to return. With the impending NBA lockout and a sports hungry populace, the Stars have a great chance at capitalizing on this new-found market.. however uninterested in hockey they may seem right now.

I will always love this sport even if sometimes she doesn’t seem to love me back. I’ll evangelize for the cult of the blueline until my face is the same shade. … but please don’t ask me to explain offsides! 
by Ray Trenton

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