According to public radio research, what I’m about to say will make collective eyes glaze over: The Dallas Stars will face off against the St. Louis Blues tonight for the final game of the NHL’s semi-finals.
For the non-hockey fans: A championship is on the line in a winner-takes-all game. In other words, it doesn’t get better than this.
Taylor Baird, managing editor at Defending Big D, says their chances are better than most people may imagine, especially because the two teams – the Stars and the Blues – have very different playing styles. The Stars are known for high-scoring, “high-event” hockey.
“No lead is ever safe, regardless of who has it,” she says. “It’s kind of what we call, ‘Hold on to your butts and hope’ – the difference being the Dallas Stars have more offensive depth than the St. Louis Blues do.”
Baird says the team has managed to sell 90 percent or more of capacity for most of the games during the regular season and they have had some sell-outs for the playoffs.
“For the most part, there’s a legitimate buzz around Dallas and the surrounding areas about this team,” she says.
Texas sports fans, Baird says, love winners. The Cowboys, who haven’t had a stellar season recently, have faded while other Dallas-area teams like the Texas Rangers, who made it into baseball’s post-season last fall, and the Stars, in the playoffs now, have been on the rise. “If you’re winning, they’re going to get behind you 110 percent,” she says.
Having an NHL team in the area has increased interest in hockey as a sport a “million-fold” since they moved to the Big D in 1993.
“Before, you might find one local rink that maybe hosts one team,” she says, “and now we’ve got actual, legitimate farm systems being built here in Texas for the NHL as well as in the junior system, which is a path to the NHL that most kids go through.”
Post prepared by Hannah McBride.