Playoff runs impact teams in many different ways. Outside of generating revenue for the team through increases in season ticket sales and merchandise sales, it helps draw in the entire city inspiring interest in those who perhaps have yet to give hockey a chance.
While the season did not end as many fans had hoped, the Dallas Stars did accomplish one thing in getting the entire city excited about hockey.
Defeating the Nashville Predators in the first round, especially with the Winter Classic approaching next January, created some new hockey fans in Dallas. The Stars now have momentum on their side to increase their market share in the DFW market. While the city will almost always be a Cowboys city, the Stars certainly have a chance to potentially be number two for a time at least. The Rangers are currently in the middle of a rebuild, although still surprisingly competitive, and the Mavericks are also trying to retool on the fly with their addition of Luka Doncic.
If there is one thing people in Dallas can always get behind though, is a championship caliber club. If/When the Dallas Stars sign Mats Zuccarello, the Stars will be a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup. Another year under Monty’s system and the hopeful return of Stephen Johns, the expectations will be high for Dallas and it will be important for them to capitalize. The city was abuzz with life for Dallas Stars hockey and the crowds in the playoffs showed that when given a reason, people will come. Arguably, among the Dallas area teams, the Stars have the best chance to bring a championship back to the city of Dallas.
This past season was successful for the Dallas Stars as they returned to the playoffs, knocked out one of their newest, possibly largest, rivals in the Nashville Predators, and came within inches, and a blatant missed interference call, from making the Western Conference Finals. The upcoming season is one of the most important in the franchise’s history. The excitement of the Winter Classic is going to help maintain the momentum from the team’s playoff run, but the importance of making at least the Western Conference Finals is higher than ever for the Stars.
All the pieces are in place and this team has a chance to sustain their popularity. Growing the game and increasing the fan base is incredibly important to help create a real home-ice advantage. The team and the fans alike benefit from an increase in Stars fans as it not only offers new perspectives, but it also helps limit visiting fans from invading the AAC and turning the game into a neutral site like environment.
The iron is hot for the Stars and the time is now for them to strike. Becoming a perennial playoff team, while adding a championship or two, will go a long way to creating new long term fans of the team.