After the successes of the Texas Rangers, the failure of the Dallas Cowboys and the hot start and subsequent injuries of the Dallas Mavericks, it’s easy to forget that the Dallas Stars are one of the best teams in the NHL. When examining their play, why is it that no one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is paying much attention to one of the hottest hockey teams in the nation?
With a third-place spot in the Western Conference and the top spot in the Pacific Division, Dallas has been the surprise of the season. The squad is stocked full of fresh, young talent, led by players such as 21-year-old Jamie Benn, 23-year-old James Neal and 25-year-old Loui Eriksson. The three players have combined for 50 goals and 69 assists. With years left to develop and mature, the youth the Stars have is a sign that Dallas will have superstars for years to come.
Rounding out the Stars’ lineup are veterans such as Brad Richards and Brendan Morrow. Both are having stellar years, ranking in the top 20 in the NHL in goals. Head coach Marc Crawford is rejuvenated and has led the team to new heights. ESPN has ranked the Stars as high as second in its weekly power rankings and consistently has Dallas in the top 10. If the Stars are playing so well, what’s to worry about?
In most cases, a top-five team deserves a top-five fan base. Despite their best efforts, though, attendance for Stars’ home games remains low. An average Stars game this season nets barely more than 15,000 fans at the American Airlines Center, ranking 23rd out of the league’s 30 teams.
Winning is supposed to make ratings go up, and fans are supposed to fill the stands when teams get hot.
What will it take for Dallas to begin supporting a team that might just make it to Stanley Cup Final? Excellent play hasn’t been enough. Adding a superstar will not be enough. Even a playoff run will not be enough. If Dallas makes it to the Stanley Cup Final, it’s possible that a fan base will be renewed.
What’s been demonstrated so far is apathy from Dallas fans. The Stars are arguably having their best season in more than a decade, but no one seems to care, let alone notice. The Stars have won seven of their past 10 games, but the headlines are about how the Mavericks are falling apart. The Stars are a mere one point away from second place in their conference, but attention appears diverted to a Super Bowl in which the Cowboys aren’t even playing.
It’s been 12 years since any major sports team from Dallas has won a championship, and that team was the Stars. Just like back in 1999, the Stars will be the most likely team to win a championship for the Big D, but no one seems to pay attention.
Championship-caliber teams have fans that are willing to support the team. The Stars are playing amazing hockey, and they deserve fans who recognize that. If fans choose to continue to be apathetic and not support the team wholeheartedly, expect another championship drought in Dallas.
J.D. Moore is a freshman journalism major from Honolulu, Hawaii.