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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stars Celebrate Silver Anniversary Of Texas High-School Hockey

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Mike Heika shares some Stars history, encapsulated in a tiny four-team league and how it grew. Plus, Jason Robertson makes the NHL All-Rookie team , another Stanley Cup roundup, and more.

Student athletes from the AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League play a game. The 54 teams in the North Texas league are celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021-22. Dallas Stars

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]


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