There’s quite a bit to be excited about where Texas hockey is concerned. The Dallas Stars are dominating a Stanley Cup playoffs series with the heavily favored Colorado Avalanche. And the city of El Paso has landed squarely on the winter-sports map as the winner of the 2020 Kraft Hockeyville USA title.
There are the usual benefits of winning the Kraft challenge, not the least of which is $150,000 for rink upgrades and $10,000 in new equipment. But undoubtedly there are also healing effects for a community stunned and heartbroken by a racially-motivated mass shooting that happened almost exactly a year ago:
Since the kickoff of this year’s program, El Paso County Coliseum and its supporters have not only rallied online and voted but have also showed their spirit and pride for their local rink, proving them to be the most passionate hockey community in America. Ever since opening its doors in 1942 and originally built to host rodeos, El Paso County Coliseum has been a place for this tight-knit community to unite, heal and celebrate all that is good.
“Kraft Hockeyville is all about showing passion and dedication to a community’s spirit,” said Magen Hanrahan, vice president of media and marketing services at Kraft Heinz. “El Paso has shown how important El Paso County Coliseum and hockey is to its community.”
That prize money will go toward renovations to transform that literal barn into a venue capable of hosting an NHL game. Cory Herman, head coach of the NAHL’s El Paso Rhinos, offers some context.
There’s more information on the Hockeyville USA finalists and prizes at NHL.com. [NHL]
You can get more of the local perspective at El Paso’s ABC affiliate. [KVIA]
And we probably have another Sean Shapiro road-trip diary to look forward to, as well.
El Paso won the "Hockeyville USA" title and will receive $150,000 in rink upgrades, maybe NHL preseason game. Heard great things about hockey town there, started needling @OrMoyal about potentially planning a trip there a couple weeks ago for after the pandemic.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) August 31, 2020
What’s with this exciting Dallas Stars hockey? Sean Shapiro examines the case for Corey Perry, and also what may be the final answer in the Miro Heiskanen vs. Cale Makar debate.
There was a late goal, which made it more dramatic, but this is why you bank em early and add insurance when you can. The 20/20 as the Stars push the Avalanche to the edge https://t.co/HsbEtI55RA— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) August 31, 2020
Heiskanen has broken a franchise postseason record that stood for nearly 40 years, and it’s even more impressive than you think.
Some context behind this record: Heiskanen broke Craig Hartsburg's record from 1980-81 in 13 games. Through 13 games back then, Hartsburg had nine points. Heiskanen has 16 right now. https://t.co/VIgPeo9LJy— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) August 30, 2020
This Hardline host has a take that may be relevant to your interests.
The Dallas Stars have 40 goals in 10 playoff games. Do you have any idea how impossible that is to conceive??? Keep playing and take no days off.— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) August 31, 2020
Meanwhile, this Stars broadcaster is not having any more of your nonsense.
Remember that time when Nathan MacKinnon outshot the entire #GoStars team in a period and it was apparently the greatest thing to happen in hockey ever...?— Brien Rea (@BrienRea) August 30, 2020
Around The League(s)
The Avs face a reckoning tonight, and it’s not just the win-or-go-home stakes in Game 5. Beat writer Ryan S. Clark puts it in perspective.
And if the Stars can close the deal, the Golden Knights – and a resurgent Max Pacioretty – could be looming over the horizon.
Max Pacioretty has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past five games. Asked if Pacioretty was up to the form he had before his injury, Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said, "Yeah, getting really close." https://t.co/KFs1AcioOX via @NHLdotcom— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) August 31, 2020
This year’s Kraft Hockeyville Canada title goes to a tiny town (pop. 2,196) in the Confederation’s smallest province, Newfoundland and Labrador.
CONGRATULATIONS TO TWILLINGATE, NL! You are #KraftHockeyville Canada 2020! Your community will receive $250k in arena upgrades and have the opportunity to host an @NHL Pre-Season Game! Let the celebration begin! @NHL @Sportsnet @NHLPA pic.twitter.com/Huk1bGoWVb— Kraft Hockeyville (@hockeyville) August 16, 2020
And Jamie Benn is bubbling up in the postseason fantasy rankings.
Because everyone can benefit from a GIF of a pumped-up Alexander Radulov. Enjoy.