The Dallas Stars announced today plans for the club's upcoming 25th anniversary season during the 2017-18 campaign, marking the first 25 years of NHL hockey in Texas. As part of the club's silver anniversary season, the Stars will celebrate the franchise milestone with festivities throughout the entire 2017-18 NHL season, highlighted by the retirement of the number 26 in honor of former Stars right wing Jere Lehtinen.
"The Dallas Stars organization is extremely proud to be celebrating our 25th anniversary season in the state of Texas," Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites said. "Over the course of the last 25 years, we have helped change the landscape of sports in the Metroplex, not only through our success on the ice, but with the incredible growth of the game of hockey in the Southwest region. The rich hockey tradition the team brought with it to Dallas in 1993 was used as the base upon which our now storied franchise was built, and that's as much a testament to the truly wonderful fans as anything else. The Dallas/Fort Worth community welcomed the organization with open arms, and our goal for the upcoming season is to not only honor and celebrate our proud history, but to reward our passionate fans for the unwavering and loyal support they have shown us over the past 25 years."
In conjunction with the celebration, the team has unveiled a special 25th anniversary logo commemorating the team's silver anniversary. The logo will be worn as a shoulder patch on the team's game jerseys throughout the 2017-18 season.
The Stars will also celebrate the organization's 25 years in Dallas by recognizing the 25 Defining Moments in Dallas Stars history. Additionally, the team will host a number of special guest appearances at select weekend contests throughout the campaign. Guests will include numerous Dallas Stars Alumni, along with individuals who played an instrumental role in building the franchise's history in the Lone Star State.
The Stars are also proud to announce that the club will retire the number 26 in honor of former Stars right wing Jere Lehtinen. The three-time Frank J. Selke Trophy winner as the NHL's top defensive forward spent his entire 14-season NHL career in Dallas where he recorded 514 points (243-271=514) in 875 career regular-season games. Lehtinen's No. 26 will be the fifth sweater to be retired by the franchise and the third since the team moved to Texas. Lehtinen joins Neal Broten (No. 7), Bill Goldsworthy (No. 8), Mike Modano (No. 9) and Bill Masterton (No. 19) as the only players in franchise history to have their number retired.
The anniversary celebration will also include the opening of a brand new StarCenter facility in Mansfield, TX, which is scheduled to open its doors to the public later in 2017. The Stars and the City of Mansfield will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on March 21 to officially celebrate construction of the new facility. The StarCenter in Mansfield will be the eighth StarCenter location in the Metroplex, joining existing Dr Pepper StarCenter facilities in Euless, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Plano and Richardson.
When the Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, there were five total sheets of ice in the area, only three of which hosted hockey. At that time, there were no high school or travel hockey programs offered, while only 250 local children and just 225 adults were participating in recreational leagues. With the organization's investment into amateur hockey over the past 25 years through construction of seven Dr Pepper StarCenters throughout the Metroplex, the team has directly impacted the growth of the game in the greater Southwest region. Today, there are more than 14,000 North Texas children and over 5,000 adults skating and playing recreational hockey on over 20 ice sheets in the area. By year's end, the number of ice rinks will grow to 22.
More information regarding the Dallas Stars 25th Anniversary Celebration, including a full list of honored guests and complete schedule of events, will be released at a later date. Fans can also visit the team's dedicated web page Dallasstars.com/25, for all information regarding the silver anniversary celebration.