A few years ago some former Dallas Stars players began skating at the Frisco Dr Pepper StarCenter once a month, enjoying the game they grew up playing for much of their lives.
The goal was to bring together the franchise’s former players and enjoy a competitive, fun skate with their former teammates. What began as innocent fun has transformed into something much more.
The Dallas Stars alumni are now a fixture in every home game, signing autographs at the Party on the Plaza and interacting with fans, supporting the charitable activities of the Dallas Stars Foundation and representing the franchise’s rich history.
“I think when Joe Nieuwndyk took over as general manager, he realized the alumni were an asset,” former Stars goaltender Andy Moog said. “It's a lot of fun for us. We’re engaged in a lot of community events that we appreciate being a part of and continue to be recognized as Dallas Stars.”
Over the past year, former Dallas Stars have impacted the North Texas community through many charitable efforts. Many former players have built playgrounds for homeless shelters, coached youth hockey teams and raised funds for nonprofits as celebrity players at golf tournaments.
“We feel like we’re an important part of the organization again and I love that,” Dallas Stars Director of Alumni Bob Bassen said. “Obviously I’m not on the ice anymore but now I feel like I’m a part of the team. That’s one thing when you stop playing - most guys aren’t connected to the organization anymore and players miss that.”
The passion for being part of a community and giving back stems from the spirit and dedication that Dallas Stars fans have shown towards their team over the years, making it easy for the athletes to come back to Dallas and contribute in any extent they can.
“There are very loyal Stars fans here in Dallas and I think that's one thing that people aren’t aware of,” former Stars forward Stu Barnes said. “Once you played your career and gone on to retire, guys are really thankful not only to play in the NHL but to play in Dallas as well.”
For Barnes, who played the last five seasons of his NHL career in Dallas, he believed that the presence of alumni in the community in the past was scarce. This isn’t the case anymore.
“I think it's a great idea to have something like this,” Barnes said. “There were so many great players, so many great people for that matter that have gone through and played for the Dallas Stars organization. To see these players who live here, be a part of the team again is real exciting.”