Dallas, TX was once a hockey town believe it or not. I know that hockey isn’t as popular as the other three major sports (football, baseball, and basketball) but everyone loves winners; and in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the Dallas Stars provided just that.
When people in North Texas think of glory days they usually refer to the days of “the Triplets” in Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith, but that era like any other era had to come to an end. From the 1996-97 season on forward the Dallas Cowboys’ run of dominance declined. Fans in North Texas were still on the Cowboys’ bandwagon, but with so many key pieces leaving or getting injured people knew the end was near.
Fortunately for fans in North Texas, as the Dallas Cowboys struggled the Texas Rangers began their run of winning three division championships. Unfortunately, that’s all the Rangers would win as the New York Yankees made sure the Rangers had virtually no success in the playoffs. Those “Damn Yanks” eliminated the Rangers in the first round in 1996, 1998, and 1999. Rangers managed to win only one playoff game in those three years combined.
No need to bring up the Dallas Mavericks because Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban were barely on their way.
So as the Cowboys and Rangers struggled to make it at least passed the first round of the playoffs in their leagues, the Dallas Stars were quietly building a powerhouse of a team. Through many trades and free agent signings the Stars added key pieces to their roster, such as Derian Hatcher, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour, Sergei Zubov and Brett Hull to join Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen and company.
The Stars not only won division titles and made the playoffs, but the Stars had several playoff runs; unlike the Cowboys and Rangers, the Stars made it out of the first round. The Stars would go on to make it to two Stanley Cup Finals, winning it all in 1999 over the Buffalo Sabres in six games and losing in 2000 to the New Jersey Devils also in six games.
During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the Dallas Stars were a team to be reckoned with in the NHL. The Stars gave fans a winning team that was a contender every year. Even though the popularity of the sport of hockey went down because of their lock out season and the lack of success the Stars have had as of late, the Dallas Stars provided great memories for Dallas’fans. Now we can always look back and remember how the Stars shined bright in Texas.