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Stars broadcaster Strader dies of cancer at 62

TV announcer joined Dallas in 2015-16, was honored by Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

Dallas Stars television announcer Dave Strader died Sunday at the age of 62 from cholangiocarcinoma, a form of bile duct cancer.

Strader was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame as the 2017 winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

Known as The Voice, Strader joined the Stars in the 2015-16 season and was limited to calling five games the following season because of cancer.

"He was a fun guy to be around, great personality," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "Hanging around the rink and the dressing room, he always had a smile on his face. Had some good stories to tell and it's a very sad day for the Dallas Stars family."

In Strader's return to the broadcast booth on Feb. 18, the Stars defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime and saluted him by raising their sticks in tribute, a game that earned two Lone Star Emmy nominations that were announced last week. Strader also called games for NBC during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: Remembering Stars voice Dave Strader

"I think it's nice that we had a moment to acknowledge him," Dallas forward Jason Spezza said. "I think he knew everyone was thinking about him, but to have a form where we could acknowledge him. I think it'll be a memory that will stick with the organization for a long time. He was dedicated to the game of hockey and a great man. To have that opportunity that we cherish."

A large-print photo of that salute hangs in the hallway of the Stars practice facility in Frisco, Texas. The Stars also wear stickers with his initials and a microphone on their helmets.

"Very sad obviously, very sad news today," Stars center Tyler Seguin said. "You walk out our locker room and think about him every day."

Strader will be honored at the Hockey Hall of Fame NHL Media Awards Luncheon in Toronto on Nov. 13, and his plaque will be displayed in the Esso Great Hall with past award recipients.

"Everyone who knew him, and everyone who was able to listen to him call games, is saddened to learn about the passing of Dave Strader," Stars president and CEO Jim Lites said in a statement. "His voice is synonymous with hockey to fans all over the globe and he built a connection for so many fans to this game. More importantly, he was a tremendous husband, father, grandfather and friend and we will miss him deeply. Our sincerest prayers and condolences are directed to his wife Colleen and their entire family."

 

[RELATED: NHL community mourns death of Strader]

 

Born in Glens Falls, New York, Strader graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor's degree in communication studies while working at the college radio station. He began his broadcasting career as the radio voice of the Adirondack Flames, the Detroit Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate, and their director of public relations from 1979 to 1985. Twice honored by the New York Broadcasters Association for excellence in play-by-play broadcasting, Strader earned the Ken McKenzie Award as the AHL's top PR professional in 1984 and was inducted into the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

"I don't think Dave ever [for] one second took any of that for granted," Strader's broadcast partner Daryl Reaugh said. "Whether he was calling games in the minors, he loves calling games and he loves being around hockey. He loved it."

Strader spent 11 years as the television voice of the Red Wings (1985-1996) while also calling national games for FOX and ESPN. He also called games for the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes before joining NBC full time in 2011. He called several national games for Versus (now NBCSN) and NBC, including the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and Red Wings at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He also called more than 300 men's and women's college basketball, WNBA and NBA D-League games, the 2006 Torino Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics, and basketball at the 2012 London Olympics.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement regarding Strader's passing:

"Dave Strader's calls combined expertise, passion for our sport, the ultimate in professionalism and a calm command of the story of the moment. Dave didn't just describe the action for a viewer, he brought you to the rink to sit next to him. As we mourn Dave's passing, the National Hockey League honors his courage, his warmth, his contribution to hockey broadcasting and his adoring devotion to his family. We send comfort and condolences to his wife, Colleen, their children and grandchildren and all whose hockey experience was improved by the sound of Dave's voice."

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