Today, the Dallas Stars take on the Nashville Predators at Cotton Bowl Stadium in the 2020 Winter Classic. It might be a single game on the schedule but from an overall standpoint, it could mean much more.
Dating back to 2015, the Stars have been skipped over as participants for the annual Winter Classic game. In 2019, they finally got the nod to play their newest rivals here in DFW. In the first-ever outdoor game for the Dallas Stars franchise, a lot more is at stake than just two points.
Since their inaugural year in Dallas in the 1993-1994 season, the Stars have been building a fanbase in Dallas, Texas, and in a large portion of the southern United States. With the next closest National Hockey League being the dreaded St. Louis Blues 630 miles away, the Stars don’t exactly have a local rival for fans to pick between.
The Stars fanbase was blessed from the start with great teams and rosters that brought home a Stanley Cup in just five years but have had a trophy dry spell since 1999. Even with the exit of former head coach Jim Montgomery, there is still a roster filled with playmakers, marksmen, brutes, and veterans, and many hockey analysts and writers are picking the Stars to make a run at the Cup again come playoff time.
Just look at the level of excitement that this game is bringing to Dallas. If you are already a Stars fan, you have been siked up for the Winter Classic since it was announced early in 2019.
If you aren’t a fan of the Stars or hockey in general, get ready to get your fill. When big sporting events come to Dallas, you can bet on two things; cowboys and cattle being shown in the game intro video and an oversaturated marketing campaign for the event. Dallas is the North American capital of marketing and advertising and never misses a chance to capitalize on the opportunity to own up to it.
People all across DFW are already talking about the event before the actual game is even played and definitely will have a lasting buzz after. Conversation points ranging from how the stadium is set up, the food, the atmosphere (basically a small version of the State Fair) and so much more. Today’s game is one of six nationally-televised for the Stars this year and will have almost everyone at home saying, “Crazy that that place is usually where they play football at” (it’s nothing special to the Cotton Bowl, announcers and fans alike just say it every single Winter Classic).
On the schedule, it really is one game but just think of the possibilities of it in its entirety. Dallas adds another sporting event, but this time it isn’t football. It is a huge chance to grow the game of hockey not only in Dallas, but Texas, and the south. This game could offer the chance for another team in Texas. Place a bet right now that there will be two NHL teams in Texas in the next ten years. The only question is what type of cliché name that Houston will give their team. My bet is the Houston Apollos, with a gigantic astronaut as the mascot.
The Stars haven’t been the greatest at capitalizing on the great opportunities they have been given in the last few seasons; Just look at leading the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in the Conference Semifinals in the 2019 Playoffs and having the series-clinching game being played at home on Cinco De Mayo, one of the loudest and rambunctious days of the year in Texas, and then proceeded to lay an egg in front of a sold-out crowd at American Airlines Center. It will take until 2030 to get over that one.
With the Winter Classic falling right into the Stars hands, they have a great chance to show the National Hockey League that they are ready for the bright lights, the late May and June games, and ignite more people to join into the Dallas Stars fan club.
Featured Image: NHL