[Updated with highlights of the game after the jump.]
I'll never forget the night of June 19, 1999. The Stars led the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in the Stanley Cup finals and game six was the most exciting yet. Neither Hasek nor Belfour refused to budge, with both making incredible save after save as the game wore on into the night.
We had just returned from a long road trip that evening, and I was actually watching the game upstairs in our loft when the third overtime began. I remember the feeling of having my heart nearly stop every time the Sabres fired a puck on net, of how the frenetic action never ceased as the game kept going and going. I was restless and probably doing about three other things at the same time while watching the game, since that is just what I do when I get anxious.
When the winning goal was scored, it happened very quickly and suddenly and came off an innocent looking play. No odd man rush to get amped up for, no breakaway. Just some gritty work down low in the zone, a shot from the point and Brett Hull being in the perfect spot at exactly the right time.
I'll never forget hearing Ralph Strangis' strained voice as he screamed into his mic: "The Stars win the Stanley Cup! The Stars win the Stanley Cup! Yes! Yes! Yes!" Not the most classic of calls, but his emotional cries were echoed in the hearts of Stars fans all across the world.
I flew down the stairs. I can't even tell you if I touched a step. I was screaming, laughing, crying. The dog was barking and my dad, my brother and I rejoiced in a feeling every sports fan waits their entire life to feel: The elation of having your team win the championship.
That was such a great season and such a hard fought playoffs that I truly believe that the Stars not only earned that Stanley Cup but they deserved it. Seeing Craig Ludwig, after so many years, lifting that Cup over his head with nothing by joy on his face. Watching Eddie Belfour finally, finally prove once and for all that he is one of the best goalies to ever play the game and yes, he can lead a team to the ultimate victory.
I'll never forget that night and those memories will stay with for the rest of my life. I'd never experienced emotion like that in relation to sports and looking back, it's as if I felt like I was lifting that Cup right alongside Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen. I had been through all the ups and downs of every single game of every season since the Stars came to Dallas, I felt the hard work and sacrifice needed to make it to the very top.
It saddens me to think that I'll never have a night like that again. Sure, I'll be ecstatic, emotional and joyful when the Stars finally make it back there again.
But it will never feel as pure as it did that night in June ten years ago.
Where were you when the Stars won the Stanley Cup in the wee hours of June 20th? What were you doing when you saw Brett Hull score the winning goal? And did you feel as I did, that magic like this could never happen again?
Highlights of the game after jump.
Highlights courtesy of DallasStars.com.