This is an exciting time for professional hockey in Texas, with a brand new AHL team scheduled to start playing in Cedar Park in just a few months. The Texas Stars will start their inaugural season in September and will serve as the AHL affiliate for the Dallas Stars, a important part of a franchise that was never more apparent than it was last season. In 2008 and with the Texas Stars still a year away, Dallas cut ties with it's AHL affiliate in Iowa, forcing the team to spread it's prospect out among the AHL, ECHL and Europe. With a brand new affiliate now located just hours away, the team can now closely monitor the development of its top prospects and have an easier time with call ups, something that has caused problems in the past.
We're going to do our best to cover the Texas Stars as much as we can during this upcoming season, but we're still working out just how extensive that coverage will be. We do have one feature that is locked down: each week Ben Ellis from Big D Hockey will give us a detailed breakdown of the Texas Stars progress and results, as well as a preview of the week ahead. For excellent and comprehensive coverage of not just the Texas Stars, but all professional hockey in Texas, be sure to visit Big D Hockey as much as you can. There is also a link to his site on the left sidebar under "Blog Partners".
There is still a lot to be done before the Texas Stars can start their season. They've yet to unveil their sweater designs (although I'm sure they'll be fairly similar to the big club's) and the Cedar Park Center is still under construction, with completion just weeks away.
It's promising to be an incredible experience for hockey fans in the Austin area and there is already considerable buzz surrounding the team. I'm excited to see this great sport become even more popular in the state of Texas, something that seems to be amazing to anyone who's never lived in Dallas. Texas has grown into a hotbed for hockey development and it's important that the sport continues to grow. The Texas Stars are a sign of just how far we've come since 1993.
The most important aspect of the team, the players, are yet to be determined. A rough estimate of who will be playing in Cedar Park this upcoming season can be made, but the final roster won't be known until after training camp in September. But we can certainly take a look at the most probable roster that could open the season in Austin.
After the jump, a look at Texas Stars organization.
Who: Texas Stars
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
AHL Conference: Western
Division: West Division
NHL Affiliate: Dallas Stars
Home arena: Cedar Park Center
Team President: Rick McLaughlin
General Manager: Scott White
Head Coach: Glen Gulutzan
Assistant Coach: Paul Jerrard
|Left Wng||Center||Right Wing|
|Jamie Benn||Tom Wandell||Ray Sawada|
|Luke Gazdic||Aaron Gagnon||Colton Sceviour|
|Michael Neal||Warren Peters||Sergei Korostin|
|Francis Wathier||Perttu Lindgren||Tyler Shelast|
|Ivan Vishnevskiy||Dan Jancevskiy|
|Guillaume Monast||Maxime Fortunus|
|Garrett Stafford||Trevor Ludwig|
|Richard Bachman||Matt Climie||Brent Krahn|
Note: This is not intended to be a depth chart or representation of proposed lines or pairings. Some of the players listed about are expected to compete of NHL spots in training and some are expected to start the season in the ECHL.