I was in Minnesota last week, and it was a very interesting conversation among Minnesotans when they learned I was from Dallas. It went a little something like this:
Minnesotan: "Hey, you're from Dallas? Thanks for stealing our team."
Me: "Uh, steal? How about the fact that nobody came to games before they moved?"
Minnesotan: "That was all Norm Green's fault. He was just greedy looking for a new stadium, and the city didn't cave to his demands."
Me: "So how many new stadiums have you built since then? 3? 4?"
Minnesotan: "Yeah, I guess we learned our lesson, eh?"
Luckily for me, even Norm Green, the owner responsible for the decision to move the team to Dallas, backs up my claims about the financial support of the team within the Minnesota market in a piece published today by D Magazine.
The North Stars had been in Minnesota since 1967 but ultimately lost the support of the community due to several years of poor performance.
The read is great for nostalgia and for new fans alike. For example, as I was busy chasing butterflies in the fields of our house outside of Atlanta in 1993, I did not realize the prominent role that former Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach in smoothing the transition of the team to Dallas.
In January 1993, I selected Dallas, after encouragement from the only Texan I knew: Roger Staubach.
Roger explained that Reunion Arena was originally built in 1980 for hockey and was being used only for basketball. He confirmed that it had excellent sightlines, and with some improvements, it would be a perfect interim arena until a new building, with proper revenue streams, could be built. Roger was strategic in the process to introduce us to the community, and the City Council, and helped us make an acceptable deal with Reunion.
The representation Norm Green gives of the Dallas market, who "loves winners", is an accurate one. The Stars saw that firsthand as they went through their dark years of mediocrity and bank ownership. And they've seen those fans flock back, as the Stars are averaging attendance at roughly 99% of capacity at the American Airlines Center.
Maybe someday in the near future Tom Gaglardi can sport a Stanley Cup ring of his own like Norm does "every day, except when golfing".