Thanks to some friends who are Texas Tornado season ticket holders, I attended the fifth annual Pros and Prospects game for charity this evening at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco. Some very familiar faces from the Dallas Stars - one or two in non-familiar roles - participated for the Pros team, including several who skated with the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1999. Before the game, there was a VIP reception for Tornado season ticket holders and their guests, where several of the Pros signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Former members of the Dallas Stars who skated for the Pro team -
Mike Keane (forward) - 1997-2001 spent with the Dallas Stars
Bill Huard (forward) - 1995-1997
Ed Belfour (defense) - 1997-2002. No, that is not a typo. Eddie played defense tonight for the Pros team.
Greg Adams (forward) - 1994-1998
Brent Severyn (forward) - 1998-1999
Jere Lehtinen (center) - 1995-2010. No, that isn't a typo either. Since the Pros team had no one who was a true center, Jere spent the game at center.
Gerald Diduck (defense) - 2000-2001
Landon Wilson (forward) - 2008-2009, as well as serving as captain of the Texas Stars during the 2009-2010 season
Bob Bassen (forward) - 1995-1998
Frank Provenzano (forward) - current assistant general manager for the Dallas Stars
Current Dallas Stars' assistant coaches Stu Barnes and Charlie Huddy were both listed on the roster today, but did not play for unknown reasons.
Other players on the Pro roster -
Steve Dykstra (defense) - Played for the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers (where he was with the Cup-winning team in 1988), Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers.
Francis "Red" Kane (coach) - The oldest member of the Pro roster, he played for the Detroit Red Wings in 1943-1944
Jason Bloomingburg (forward) - played three seasons for the Texas Tornado, including the first year the Tornado won the Robertson Cup in 2001.
Tom Train (forward) - played for the Texas Tornado from 2002-2006, including three national championship teams.
Dan Blackburn (goaltender) - Played for the New York Rangers from 2001-2003. Was unusual among goalies for wearing two blocker gloves due to the shoulder injury which forced his early retirement from the NHL.
Rich Sleavin (forward) - played two pro seasons in Europe
David Hunt (forward) - plays with the Warriors of the Senior Stars Hockey League
Brett Bowland - representing the Allen Fire Department
Justin Webb - representing the Plano Police Department
My photos from the VIP reception can be found here. I really enjoyed the intimate atmosphere of the VIP reception, where the players present were able to just mix and mingle with the fans. We were teasing Brent Severyn about the Stars' currently being short of defensemen, and that maybe we needed him to suit up - which some of us were laughing about later because Brent wiped out a couple of times during the game. Dan Blackburn and I discussed last night's game against the Flyers while he was signing an autograph for me. Jere Lehtinen was constantly hearing about how much we miss him on the ice, but that we're happy to keep running into him at the AAC. I missed Bill Huard, who was apparently trying to remain anonymous, as he wasn't wearing a name tag, but several Stars' fans going back to the old Reunion Arena days recognized him in the room. Eddie Belfour slipped into the back of the room quietly and with no fuss, but it didn't take long for people to realize that he was there. For those who have not met Eddie, he's actually very shy and retiring when meeting with the fans, although he just lights up when he has a chance to interact with kids. Quite a difference from the "Crazy Eddie" that you usually hear about.
The game itself was fun, as well. The Pros team opened up the scoring in the first period with a goal by Greg Adams, assisted by Eddie Belfour. The Tornado jumped ahead 2-1 before the Pros would score again on a goal from Landon Wilson, assisted by Greg Adams and Bob Bassen. The Pros had a chance for a third goal during the period, but Brent Severyn missed a penalty shot (rather than power plays, teams that drew penalties were awarded penalty shots during the game). The first period ended tied 2-2, with the Pros outshooting the Tornado 17-11.
The second period would start out with the Tornado scoring twice to move ahead 4-2, before Jere Lehtinen scored on a rebound, assisted by Mike Keane and Bill Huard. The Tornado would score twice more to make the score 6-3 before former Tornado Jason Bloomingburg scored for the Pros, assisted by Tom Train. Jere Lehtinen then missed a penalty shot, but later scored on a pass from Bill Huard to make the game 6-5 as the teams headed into the second intermission.
The Tornado had the first tally of the third, but the Pros struck back on a goal from Bill Huard to pull within one. Unfortunately, the Pros missed two more penalty shots, first by Brent Severyn and then Eddie Belfour (with only 25 seconds left). With 12 seconds left, the Tornado would score into the empty net to win the game 8-6. The win was the first in five tries for the Tornado against the Pro Team.
For his two goals, and just missing a hat trick due to his missed penalty shot, Jere Lehtinen was named 1st Star of the game. Greg Adams (1g, 2a) and Bill Huard (1g, 2a) rounded out the Three Stars.
The crowd was light, probably due to this being the last day of Spring Break, but a good time was had by all.