So the Dallas Stars didn’t quite manage to close out the Stanley Cup Final. It hurts right now and probably will for a while but the Stars can be enormously proud of what they achieved in difficult circumstances.

One small bright spot for hockey in Texas is that a Dallas native scored the game-winning goal in game 6 of the final and as a result lifted the Cup.

28-year-old Blake Coleman is the firstborn and raised Texan to raise the Stanley Cup. Plano native Coleman grew up playing for the Dallas Stars Elite. He attended NHL games with his family in Reunion Arena and as a 7-year-old watched the Stars lift the Cup. A year later the Dallas Stars made another run to the final. In 2011 he was drafted in the third round, 75th overall, by the New Jersey Devils.

It wasn’t fun to see him lift the Cup for Tampa, but it suggests good things for Dallas hockey. 

Hockey in the metroplex has grown enormously since the Stars found Cup success in 1999.  In 2002-3 (the first year for which there is data available) there were 353 hockey players in Texas under the age of 18 registered with US Hockey. Today there are 6321. One of them as we memorably saw during the Final is Joe Pavelski’s son Nate. The Dallas Elite had six players drafted to the WHL in the 2020 draft. Cameron McEwan, drafted 20th overall by the Moosejaw Warriors, will this year follow in the footsteps of Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon to Shattuck St. Mary’s school in Minnesota. 

Last night, the first player that came out of the original 1999-2000 post-Cup growth of hockey in Texas lifted the Cup. How many kids across Texas cheered on the Stars last night. They wanted to see their team lift the Cup, and were sadly disappointed.

Nevertheless, they went to sleep under posters of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and dreamed that one day it would be them.

Maybe the first Texas-born player to lift the cup in Victory Green will happen sooner rather than later.

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