Big D On Display

Texas Hockey In The Spotlight At NHL Draft

With the entire NHL community descending upon Dallas for the league's Draft on June 22 and 23, the Dallas Stars used the opportunity to showcase the area's vibrant hockey scene.

Among the activities planned was a Hockey Day in Texas celebration on June 21, the day before the draft, at the Farmers Branch Dr Pepper StarCenter rink just outside the Dallas city limits. 

"We had everything from the men's league to some of the travel teams and we ended the day with the local Police vs. Fire game," said Damon Boettcher, the Dallas Stars' vice president in charge of their StarCenter ice rinks. 

"We had teams from every different aspect of what we run in our rinks playing games all day long, including sled hockey. We also had our summer camp skating a couple of times, and we had ball hockey out in the parking lots. 

"It was a good showcase of what ... hockey is to the city of Dallas."

One of the highlights was having some of the highest-ranked NHL Draft prospects, who were all selected in the first round the following day, out on the ice for an instructional skills session with 35 local youth players randomly selected from various age groups and skill levels. Also participating were current Stars players Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop, as well as former NHLers Bob Bassen, Vern Fiddler and Brad Lukowich.

Most of those same pros and prospects, including two of the top picks Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo) and Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa), also participated in the ball hockey clinic that benefited kids from the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters charities.

Then, as the draft kicked off inside American Airlines Center, the Stars hosted a Fan Fest outside, with different fun activities, as well a concert stage featuring various country music acts.

There was a target practice station where fans shot pucks at a washer and dryer (as if they were in their parents' basement), an accuracy challenge where fans shot at net targets similar to the NHL Skills Competition event, and opportunities for people to take their picture with the Stanley Cup. 

Fans could also try their luck balancing on a mechanical bull or just sit on a (stationary) real bull. There were also autograph sessions with current Stars defenseman Stephen Johns as well as former Stars Jere Lehtinen, Marty Turco, Lukowich and Fiddler. 




Who is your favorite 2023/2024 NHL Rookie?
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