Even before they played their first game in Reunion Arena in 1993, the Dallas Stars understood the importance of spreading hockey awareness in Texas – starting with youth sports.
By 1997, they’d gathered four North Texas teams – Southlake, Coppell, Plano and Jesuit – to form the AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League. Now 54 teams strong, the league will celebrate its 25th season with all the fanfare you might expect. (This is Texas, after all.)
Keith Andresen, who serves as general manager of Comerica Center for the Stars, also manages the burgeoning league he helped create. He discussed the value of interscholastic competition for both the student-athletes and the sport with Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika:
“[School] is a big part of [the players’] lives and this gives them a chance to bring that together,” Andresen [said]. “You go to a house game or travel game and it might be mom and dad or brother and sister, but you go to a high school game and there’s a completely different feeling in the stands. Your peers are there, your teachers might be there. You can see the stands pretty full, and that really does help create an excitement that’s different.”...
“It’s really important in the Texas sports landscape,” said Dan Stuchal, the Stars’ senior vice president of marketing. “I definitely think younger players see in the future an opportunity to represent their high school, and that’s a driving force for them. To know they can play a sport and represent their school and their colors, that’s a big deal.”
He also stressed that raising the next generation of hockey fans starts at the rink:
“There’s a lot that goes into building a sport and I think one of the Stars’ philosophies has always been that you need people playing to help build the fanbase,” Andresen said. “And then if you take that another step, it just becomes obvious that you’d love to have that emotion and support for your school also tied to your hockey team, so that’s a big part of what we’ve wanted to do here. We’re all trying to grow the game of hockey, and this is a great part of that growth.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Second in Calder Trophy voting, but first in our hearts.
Good answer saying the Earth is not flat, but some understandable confusion about whether Pluto is a planet – and, of course, whether aliens are real.
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This, I did not see coming.
This, on the other hand, has been telegraphed for months.
Speaking of telegraphed, Connor McDavid has won his second Hart Trophy. (In other news, water is wet.)
The most surprising thing here is that Marc-Andre Fleury has never even been a finalist before.
Marc-Andre Fleury is the 2021 Vezina Trophy winner.— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) June 29, 2021
✅ 3 Stanley Cup Championships
✅ 5 Cup Final appearances (with 2 different teams)
✅ 3rd most wins in NHL history
✅ 4th most playoff wins in NHL history
✅ 3rd most shutouts in NHL history
✅ Jennings Trophy
✅ Vezina Trophy pic.twitter.com/FuJlU8ZZpA
You never know what someone is going through. Jonathan Toews has broken his silence about the illness that kept him off the ice last season.
Jonathan Toews said he had Chronic Immune Response Syndrome, which was reason for lengthy absence.— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) June 30, 2021
He’s back in Chicago and plans to play next season: "I'm excited to get back to the United Center to play ... I think my best is going to come through.” #Blackhawks https://t.co/TcJ5uy7twg
For those arching an eyebrow about the timing of Toews' announcement, I get it, but I understand he's been back in Chicago for a little while now, skating at a public rink. It was only a matter of time before he was spotted. This was *his* announcement to make, not the team's.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 30, 2021
Meanwhile, in the NWHL, we learn that Thomas Harley isn’t the only (or maybe even the best) hockey talent in his family. The Phil-and-Amanda-Kessel vibes are intensifying.
Emilie Harley, Thomas' sister, went No. 2 in the NWHL draft tonight. https://t.co/ESfwzwz0hG— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) June 30, 2021