Trevor Strader will honor his late father when he sings the United States national anthem before the Dallas Stars play the Winnipeg Jets at American Airlines Center on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, TSN3, NHL.TV).
Strader is the son of Stars play-by-play announcer Dave Strader, who passed away from cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of bile duct cancer, on Oct. 1.
"It's just an incredible honor to be able to sing at the game and for a team that he loved so much," Strader said. "It's just another level of how incredible the Dallas Stars are, and have been, at honoring my dad. It really is such a family and honoring him at this game, it has a special meaning."
Strader will perform during the Stars' Hockey Fights Cancer night for the second consecutive year. The Stars will wear lavender jerseys and use lavender stick tape during warmups. The jerseys will be auctioned off and the proceeds, along with those from a 50/50 raffle, will go to HopeKids, Flashes of Hope, and The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation.
Strader, who also sang the anthem on Nov. 24, 2015, is an actor and performer in New York. He said performing is a fitting tribute to his dad, who was an expert in his own performance art as a broadcaster.
"I always knew that I wanted to be an actor and a singer, just seeing his work ethic and his sense of community, that he understood that it took every single person doing every single job on a production team make what he did happen," Strader said. "The same thing is in theater, you are there, and you're a part of the turning cog of the clock. You are a part of a puzzle that makes something happen. He taught me how important it is to be part of something like that."
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Strader said the entire hockey community made a difference to his father, who 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.
"From fans, from people's he worked with, to the [Detroit Red Wings] to the [Florida] Panthers to the [Arizona] Coyotes, to NBC, every organization he worked with was so supportive of him," Strader said. "Little touches of continued support kept him fighting as long as he did with all the setbacks he had throughout his treatment."
Dave Strader was limited to calling five games with the Stars last season and later called Stanley Cup Playoff games on NBC. At those moments, it felt like he had never been sick.
"He said that was the best treatment he could have ever asked for," Strader said. "He said after that game in Dallas that it felt like the last nine months hadn't happened. He felt so alive and at home, it really kept him going throughout the whole spring and the summer."
He also planned to call as many games as possible this season. Strader said his dad was keeping track of Stars training camp from afar and nothing was going to keep him from returning to the booth.
"We found on his iPad, he had the whole NHL season scheduled and he had games marked off that would be potential games that would fit around his medical appointments that he was going to try and call," Strader said. "There was never going be a moment where he was not going to call games. I think that's a testament, his mindset was never giving up. His mindset was always what can I do next, what can I call? That was just how he was."
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Dave Strader was also a family man. He was always thinking about his wife, Colleen, three sons, and two grandchildren.
"People who I've never met before, have talked to me for 20 minutes about not only what an incredible broadcaster he was, but how all he talked about was his kids," Strader said. "Which I knew he was proud of us, so knowing we were always on the front of his mind, even at his job. He was always a dad and a husband first and then did his job. There has just been amazing support from so many people."