Patrick Smith The Hockey Writers
Weird Dallas Stars Games: The Winter Storms
Every team in the NHL deals with weird games where the unusual happens. Not in terms of things not done before, but circumstances that make the game fall into the weird category. The Dallas Stars have many of those games. The Stars add two into this first volume of weird games. Winter weather rarely occurs in Dallas. When a Stars game mixes in with adverse snow conditions, weird things happen. The attendance dropped below average as Dallas Fort-Worthers refused to get out. Some fans braved the cold to get inside the arena. These two games in 2009 and 2014 are part of the lore with the Stars fans who experienced it. These games never appear in a history book. Here are some weird Stars games.
The DFW Climate
Snow rarely happens in Dallas Fort-Worth because of how far south they are. The unusual happens during these Texas ice storms. Fans left their homes to catch the two games that went ahead. Northerners laugh at Texans because of how bad they “overreact” to weather they see all the time. DFWers are not used to driving on the roads when it sleets or snows. Dallasites have a difficult enough time driving in basic conditions anyway. Only a few braved getting out and going to these games.
Thrashers @ Stars: 2009
Forecasts showed lots of snow and ice in Dallas on Jan. 27, 2009. It did not come until later the next day. However, 16,726 braved the frigid air to come to the game, below the 17,680 average per game that season. There were much fewer people than that in attendance for the game between the Stars and the Atlanta Thrashers. “Die Hard” night is what these games are called because only real fans of the team show up for the game.
Jere Lehtinen and Steve Ott scored for the Stars while they shutout the Thrashers 2-0. Snow flurries greeted fans on the way out of the arena as local schools starting shutting down for the next day. This would be one of the final few times the Stars played the Thrashers before relocating from Atlanta to become the Winnipeg Jets. The next game proved to be more eventful in terms of weather conditions.
Flyers @ Stars: 2013
In a rare circumstance, Dallas received its first snowfall much earlier in the year. The Philadelphia Flyers came to town on Dec. 7, 2013, and stepped off the plane to a fresh carpet of snow. Over the previous days, snow and ice blanketed Dallas with a frozen winter wonderland. This game is by far the strangest in this category and several occurrences made this a whirlwind.
The official attendance listed on the scoresheet for this daytime matinee was 8,567. It was a down attendance year for the five-years-removed-from-the-postseason Stars. The previous and following home games had 12,673 and 12,542 fans in attendance, respectively. Few fans could make it to the game with many traveling on the still operating public transport and rail transit systems.
The game started with a bang from the fists of Zac Rinaldo after he attacked Antoine Roussel from behind. In the first 1:15, Rinaldo got a fighting major, instigating minor, 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. The Stars couldn’t score on the ensuing 7-minute power play. Andrej Meszároš scored the only Flyers goal in the game shortly before the first period ended.
During the first intermission, the entire usher staff at the American Airlines Center moved all fans in the upper bowl down to the lower bowl. They told everyone to sit wherever there was an empty seat. This seems like an impossibility, but there were so few fans in attendance where this could happen. The entire upper bowl was empty for the final two periods.
What made this game so great was the giveaways they do for fans. On this particular game, that giveaway made its way back to the ice. Tyler Seguin stormed out of the gate in the second period with a natural hat trick. The last two of his goals came in 0:40 as time wound down in the period. At first, no one thought Seguin scored that third goal. Everyone thought Jamie Benn tipped the puck into the net but it was Flyers’ defenseman Luke Schenn. Seguin recorded a natural hat trick and no one knew it.
During the next stoppage of play, it was finally announced that it was his third goal of the game. Stars hats with AT&T logos on the side was the promotional giveaway for the game. All these green hats poured onto the ice in a delayed hat trick celebration that took ages to clean up. A 5-1 victory brought happiness on a wild day.
The Super Ice Bowls Not Played: 2021
More games were on the table for this category in February. The Stars postponed four games due to a massive winter storm that peppered Dallas for days. Power grids struggled with the excess demand, causing rolling blackouts throughout Texas. Outrage reached the mayor’s office who promptly shut down the first game. Using unnecessary electricity to power a sports arena was a bad look. Fans going to these games would have another one of the stories mentioned above. It did not come to pass and the previous games were the only true ice bowls in Dallas.
Part of the Forgotten Lore
These games are never remembered by anyone who wasn’t there. They do not appear in record books nor had anything significant happen during the game. These just happen to be a part of weird games that happened over the years. Weird games provide memorable experiences for the fans who attended. Dallas gets made fun of because of the lack of “hockey weather” they get in the winter and how they handle it when it comes. Dallas gets snow every so often and craziness happens when it does. More of these winter bowls may happen in the future, but they are a part of the Stars lore for now.
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