Every player we watch on the ice that comprises each roster spot has their own story. That unique history that shows the ups and downs from early beginnings to where they are now. Well much is the same when we watch each franchise that comprises the NHL take the ice year after year.
With the regular season just under way, and in honor of our 25th year in the State of Texas, we take a look back at the organization from day one to present day.
As part of a six team expansion in 1967, the Stars came into the NHL as the Minnesota North Stars with the infamous logo of the capital N pointing upward to a star, with bright green and gold on their sweaters. Fans packed the unfinished Metropolitan Sports Center for their opening game on October 21, 1967 against the St. Louis Blues.
Even though they were in their first year of conception, the North Stars had a lot to prove. With a Canadian-heavy roster out on the ice in Minnesota, we saw many talented forwards: Wayne Connoly, Bill Goldsworthy, Bill Masterton, Duke Harris, Dave Balon, Andre Boudrias and J.P Parise just to name a few. The defense was questionable at best, and even with two talented goalies in net, they finished second-to-last in goals against (226).
Halfway through the first season the North Stars achieved success and found itself in first place. The unexpected passing of Bill Masterton due to a fatal hit changed the complexion of the season from there onwards. The North Stars would finish 4th in the west division with a record of 27-32-15 and advanced into the playoffs. They were one game away from the Stanley Cup Finals, but in game 7 would lose in double overtime.
In 1993, then-owner Norm Green moved the North Stars to Dallas after Minneapolis-St. Paul wouldn’t pay for a new arena. The organization through its time in Minnesota would see 17 playoff appearances, 2 division championships, 0 Presidents Trophies, 6 conference finals appearances, 2 Stanley Cup finals appearances, and 0 Stanley Cup wins.
It feels like only yesterday the Stars moved to town. Now, here we are, celebrating 25 years in Texas. Much has changed since those early days in the Lone Star State: the logo, the colors, the sweaters, the players, the ownership, the management. So much different, and yet, if you look closely enough, there’s a lot that is the same.
Much like the team in ‘67, this team has a lot to prove. Not only to the fans, but to themselves. That they have what it takes to succeed with the pressure of high expectations. With how much talent the Stars boast on their roster after many offseason moves that signaled the team was “going for it”, there is no reason why the Stars shouldn't succeed.
But it’s always tougher done than said.
Much like that ‘67 team, the Stars have many great forwards showing good depth: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, Mattias Janmark, Radek Faksa, Martin Hanzal, Antoine Roussel.
They have a defensive group that is talented but hasn’t shown success as a unit. They have a goalie that so far looks like he’ll get the job done between the pipes. The team in ‘67 had similar circumstances, but never got it done on the defensive side that year.
We hope that won’t be the case for the Stars this season.
These two teams may appear to be similar on the surface, but major differences in the organization start to show.
There has been quite a bit more success in Dallas than in Minnesota (which partly explains the North Stars experiencing declines in attendance up until their move to Dallas). The Dallas Stars have seen 14 playoff appearances, 7 division championships, 2 Presidents Trophies, 4 conference final appearances, 2 Stanley Cup finals appearances, and 1 Stanley Cup since moving to Texas. Attendance has increased from an average of 16,070 per game in their first year in Dallas to an average of 18,102 per game according to last year’s totals.
The situation in Dallas today is more stable than what it was in its early years in Minnesota. As the season continues, we can only hope that the Stars roll into a deep run into the playoffs like the ‘67 team. But we will have to patiently wait for this talented team to take form and let that happen.