Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hill Country Ice Hockey?

Both of my sons are darn good hockey players, and I spent a whole lot of years watching them play as they grew up. When I left the Midwest to come to Texas, I thought I'd really miss seeing ice hockey games. Not anymore.

When one thinks of hot south-central Texas, ice hockey is not the first thing that comes to mind; however, that all begins to change tonight.

The Texas Stars, an American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, has its first official home game tonight in Cedar Park’s newly-built Cedar Park Center. The center, which cost $55 Million to build, opened last month. It seats nearly 7000, and will host the hockey team’s inaugural year as well as concerts and other events.

Despite tonight’s “official” season home opener, the Texas Stars played an exhibition game this past week in the center against its National Hockey League affiliate, the Dallas Stars, and, predictably, lost 5-1. If that game is representative of the turnout for future games, the team should have great fan support.

Last night the Stars played away, just down the road in San Antonio. The San Antonio Rampage came out on top, 3-2. Tonight’s game will rematch the two teams, but this time, in front of the Stars’ home crowd.

Despite the excitement in this hockey team's new home just on the eastern edge of the hill country, Detroit need not worry. It is doubtful that Cedar Park will be taking away Detroit’s nickname, “Hockeytown USA,” any time soon. And while the Texas Stars will not satisfy a Dad's pride in watching his sons score a goal, or get an assist, it is as good as it possibly can be in an area not known for it's ice hockey.

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