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A Tribute to Reunion Arena

Tuesday, the last few pillars holding up the roof on the first Texas home of the Stars came crashing down (for some reason, I'm not able to embed the video into this post).

Since 1980, it also hosted an NBA expansion franchise known as the Dallas Mavericks, an indoor soccer team known as the Dallas Sidekicks, the SWC Men's Basketball Tournament, a Republican National Convention in 1984, an NBA All Star Game in 1986, a Final Four in 1988, and the WCT Tennis Tournament (which forced Game 5 of the Mavericks' first ever playoff series against Seattle to be moved to Moody Coliseum back in the spring of 1984)

TheBigAndTheBrown has his favorite Reunion Arena-era memories posted over at our sister site, Mavs Moneyball. But the Stars were able to fill the barn with quite a few of their own memories in the eight years that they called the building their own.

After the jump, I'll post my Top 5 memories, which was hard to choose as you can imagine. Quite probable it'll spark a little debate as well.

5. The Hullennium - To say the Stars defense of their lone Cup was going shaky in the first couple of months in the 1999-00 season would be an understatement. They had actually sunk to last place in the Pacific about a month into the season and were treading water through the end of the calendar year in 1999.

The Ducks came to town for the annual New Year's Eve game. And IIRC, this was also Jere Lehtinen's first game of the year. His start to the 1999-00 campaign was derailed by injury. But he took his first shift of the night and moments later, opened the scoring in what would become a back and forth affair.

And oh by the way, Brett Hull was stuck on 599 goals coming into this contest. He was still stuck on that number, just 1shy of the 600 goal mark when he took a shift midway through the 3rd with the Stars down a goal. Hull, like he always had during his career, somehow found himself open in the slot, and whipped home the milestone goal just before midnight Eastern.

The timing on the goal was so perfect that when Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve panned a shot of Times Square right after the City of New York celebrated the birth of a new millennium, there was news of Hull's milestone goal scrolling across one of the electronic boards.

Hull decided his 600th goal of his career wasn't good enough for that night. So he went out and scored goal 601 shortly thereafter to lead the Stars to a win that night. A win I think jumpstarted the Stars to a very strong second half of the season en route to a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals that year.

4. Opening Night of the 1999-2000 season - I think you all know why.

They had skated the Cup up in Buffalo in the wee hours of a Sunday morning. They brought the Cup back to Reunion a few days later for the victory parade and rally at Reunion.

But they never actually skated the Cup on their home ice. That is, until Derian Hatcher came out of the Zamboni entrance with the Cup held high to a thunderous applause from the sellout crowd.

Oh yeah, they did raise a banner that night and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins to officially open defense of their title. But the lasting memory of that night will always be seeing Hatch skate the Cup on Reunion Arena ice.

3. Devils win Stanley Cup in double OT in Game 6, June 10th, 2000 - I never said this would be a list of my most favorite Stars' memories at Reunion.

But as a hockey fan, I'd be remiss if I didn't include this game because I think it encapsulated the entire series between the Stars and Devils. On one side, you had a very determined Devils' squad that was certainly better than the Stars on paper and had pushed Dallas to the brink after winning Games 3 and 4 at Reunion to take a 3-1 series lead.

But there's an axiom in playoff hockey that the hardest game to win in any series is the last one. And the Stars proved in the next few games just determined they were to make the Devils truly earn it in 2000. First, they staved off elimination in a scoreless Game 5 that lasted until Mike Modano tipped a Brett Hull shot from the point past Marty Brodeur in triple OT to force a Game 6. Then in Game 6 back in Dallas, they battled New Jersey to double OT before Patrick Elias' pass from the corner found Jason Arnott all alone in front of Ed Belfour to silence the crowd and finally wrest control of the Cup away from the Stars.

Dallas had lost the war. But they held their heads high through the handshake line and the crowd showed just how appreciative they were that their Stars didn't go quietly after falling into a 3-1 hole that year.

Besides, win or lose, it's cool to see the Stanley Cup presented on your ice. Not many buildings in the NHL can lay claim to that.

2. First Stars home game at Reunion, October 3rd, 1993 - I'm sure much of the crowd that night wasn't really sure what to expect when they set foot inside Reunion that night. Obviously, the visiting Red Wings were well represented as they are in every arena in the NHL it seems.

But when Neal Broten poked home the first goal in Dallas Stars' history at Reunion past Tim Cheveldae in a goal mouth scramble, it started a love affair between the team and it's fans that continues to this day.

The Stars went on to win that game by the score of 6-4.

1. Game 7 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals, June 4, 1999 - No, I didn't get to experience this game in person. Too bad, because I'd never heard Reunion Arena as loud as it was on this night when the crowd was into the game from the drop of the puck and gave the Stars momentum that they would never relinquish to the Avalanche in a 4-1 rout that sent the Stars to their first Stanley Cup Finals since moving down from Minnesota.