The Dallas Stars, like all professional athletes, spend a lot of time visiting with the media of today, so it only made sense for them to get a head start on speaking to the media of tomorrow. With the help of a couple local sportscasters, the Dallas Stars Foundation hosted their annual High School Media Day last month at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco. Featured panelists at the event included Texas Rangers Play by Play Broadcaster John Rhadigan and TXA21/CBS11 Sports Anchor Gina Miller. Dallas Stars Play by Play broadcaster and High School Media Day veteran Ralph Strangis served as Emcee of the event and as always kept the students entertained while speaking to them about the challenges and nuances of his job. Stars players Adam Burish
and Nicklas Grossman as well as head coach Marc Crawford also served on the panel to take questions from the audience and give a little perspective of what it's like to be on the other side of the microphone.
Local high school senior journalism students were invited out to the event at Dr Pepper Arena, where they took in a Friday afternoon Dallas Stars practice before heading over to the mock "press conference" to meet with the professionals. Each panelist gave their story as to how they found their way to their current broadcasting position, and stuck around for a while afterwards to field many questions from the eager, aspiring journalists.
After the event, each student was challenged to write a "news article" on the day's events. The articles were judged by Strangis and the winner's article can be found below. Thank you to all the students and panelists that took part in this great event!
High Scool Media Day
by Caitlin Wright
The Oakridge School
“No one ever had to tell me to be excited.” Dallas Stars’ play-by-play announcer Ralph Strangis’s words about his love for his job echoed through the small room that a group of high school journalists were gathered in on a cool February day in Frisco.
We had just had the opportunity to watch the team members conduct their morning practice after a refreshing 4-1 win in Detroit over the Red Wings. The team seemed energized despite returning to Texas after 2:00 AM that same day. Players ran through their practice drills making their passes and shots meticulously to perfect their skills while mixing in a few laughs.
As they wrapped up their practice by taking turns at attempting to pop the goalie’s water bottle off the top of the net from the underside, we were shuffled into the hallway and up a flight of stairs into a small room where we eagerly took our seats. Awaiting the mock press conference, we all glanced at the table that was set up at the front of the room to see the names of those who would be talking to us. It was quite an impressive line up, reading from left to right head coach Marc Crawford, right wing Adam Burish
, defenseman Nicklas Grossman, play-by-play announcer Ralph Strangis, DFW sports anchor Gina Miller, and future Texas Rangers’ play-by-play announcer John Rhadigan.
The first to arrive was play-by-play announcer Ralph Strangis. He opened the mock press conference by introducing himself, making us laugh in the process, and telling us about who we would be hearing from and speaking to that day. He was soon followed by John Rhadigan and Gina Miller, and our mock press conference began. They spoke to us about the wonders of being journalists or broadcasters and the opportunities that we are given to build relationships with the teams and the media. They emphasized the ability to recognize the difference between telling the facts and telling the truth because the facts may tell us one thing while the truth tells us another. “You have to do your homework,” Ralph Strangis said as a mix of laughs and groans rose around the room of high school students.
Not long after we began the players arrived. Earlier in the press conference Ralph Strangis characterized the two players for us. He said that Nicklas Grossman was not overly chatty as Swedish is his first language and that we would absolutely love Adam Burish
. Strangis was quick to ask Burish if he brought the Stanley Cup ring he was awarded last season after winning the Stanley Cup as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. But Burish smiled and joked, “I couldn’t fit it through the door!”
We were then allowed to ask the coach, players, and broadcasters questions. Our hands shot into the air as our questions were answered by the pros at the front of the room. “What’s the worst injury you have seen?” “What was it like losing a teammate like James Neal to a trade?” All questions showed promising signs of future success, and all questions were given great answers.
The Stars sit in a Western Conference that from eleventh to fourth place is only separated by a fluctuating five points, and the final playoff push is proving to be tough. Having just stumbled out of a hard February, Burish made sure to reassure us all. “It’s not a fluke,” he commented, adding that injuries are tough for any team, but players still have to go out with a positive energy and a good honest effort.
It seemed that perseverance and passion were the recurring themes that day. Marc Crawford shared his wisdom when he said that “greatness is no accident.” The need for perseverance was reassured by this statement and Burish’s statement about always bringing a good honest effort to the table. No matter what we are doing, the ability to persevere through obstacles (injuries in hockey, for example) will take us far.
But maybe even more important is having a passion for what we are doing. We can see this passion if we watch a game of hockey and look at how dedicated the players are to the game they love. Ralph Strangis made the point that no one ever had to tell him to be excited about broadcasting a game. No one ever had to tell him because he was doing what he loved. We soaked in all the knowledge our presenters could give us as fast as we could that day while feverishly jotting down notes. After learning as much as we could from our mentors, Marc Crawford ended the press conference on a perfect note.
“Let’s go out there and score a few goals!”