The team was formally granted a limited membership to begin play in the American Hockey League for the 2009-10 season by the AHL on Tuesday. The AHL Board of Governors approved the membership at their league meetings in Chicago.
The move is the anticipated next step towards the Texas Stars beginning their first season this fall at the beautiful Cedar Park Center. The limited membership is conditioned on the club completing the purchase of an AHL franchise within one year. The Texas Stars will be the primary development affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars, as the roster will be made up of Dallas’ top prospects and draft picks.
“This is an exciting day for the Texas Stars, even though this formal awarding of an AHL franchise had been anticipated,” said Texas Stars President Rick McLaughlin. “We’d like to thank the American Hockey League and its group of owners in helping make the Texas Stars a reality. The entire area of Cedar Park and Greater Austin has embraced us and we are looking forward to playing hockey in just over five months.”
Embraced the team indeed.
The Texas Stars have sold more than 1,000 full season tickets and there is more interest every day. The Stars offers a full season ticket plan as low as $500, averaging out at just $11.90 per game. The team has several ticket plans with different price points, all designed to be affordable to anyone interested in becoming a season ticket holder. The Stars have a goal of selling 2,500 full-season-equivalents for their inaugural season. The team has also sold about one-third of the team’s suite inventory.
“About 30 percent of those sales have come from Cedar Park while another 30 percent have come from Austin,” said McLaughlin. “We are thrilled that so many people from Austin-proper are becoming season ticket holders.”
The Dallas Stars will hold a Rookie Camp in Frisco, Tex., from July 6-11. Many of the players at the camp will probably see action for the Texas Stars as their development progresses. The Dallas Stars 2009 Training Camp is scheduled to begin on Sept. 11 in Frisco, Tex., followed by the Texas Stars’ first-ever Training Camp that will begin on Sept. 22 in Cedar Park, Tex.
While there is no guarantee, some of the players who have a good chance to play for the Texas Stars next year include (but not limited to):Richard Bachman, G (NCAA, Colorado College). Dallas’ fourth round selection (120th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
*Finished his second season with Colorado College going 14-11-10, with a 2.63 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
*Recorded three shutouts, moving his total to seven in his two seasons at the collegiate level. Jamie Benn, LW (WHL, Kelowna Rockets). Dallas’ fifth round selection (129th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
*Named to the 2008-09 WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team. Also named the Boston Pizza WHL and CHL Player of the Week for his performance in the week ending Oct. 26, after recording five goals and four assists for nine points in three games.
*Skated in 56 games, collecting 46 goals and 36 assists for 82 points with a +27 rating. Among league leaders, ranked fifth in goals and 15th in scoring.
*Had a six-game point streak from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2, in which he recorded 18 points (10 goals, 8 assists), the most scored during a point streak in the WHL this season.
*As of Apr. 28 ranked first in the WHL in playoff points with 28 (11 goals, 17 assists) through 16 games.Matt Climie, G (ECHL, Idaho Steelheads). Signed by the Stars as a free agent Mar. 20, 2008.
*Named the CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month for December, going 5-1-0 with a 2.31 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Was later named the Reebok ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Mar. 29, going 2-0-0 with back-to-back shutouts. He was then named the RBC Financial Group ECHL Saver of the Month for March, posting an 8-2-0 record with a 1.60 GAA and a .937 save percentage.
*Among ECHL leaders, finished third in wins (27), fourth in GAA (2.30), tied for fourth in shutouts (4) and eighth in save percentage (.915).
*Was recalled by the Dallas Stars on Apr. 3, going 2-1-0 in three games, posting a 2.92 GAA and a .894 save percentage. Philip Larsen, D (Swedish Elite League, Frolunda). Dallas’ fifth round selection (149th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
*Scored two goals and 15 assists for 17 points in 53 games in 2008-09 for Frolunda.
*Tied for fifth on team and first among defensemen in plus/minus on club (+7), third in defensemen scoring and second in defensemen assists on team.
*Skated in five games for Team Denmark in the 2009 Division I Group B World Junior Championships, recording four assists. Also represented his country at the 2009 World Championships.Guillaume Monast D (QMJHL, Quebec Remparts). Signed as a free agent by Dallas on Sep. 26, 2008.
*Was named TELUS QMJHL Defensive Player of the Week on Jan. 4, recording eight assists and a +8 in three games.
*Recorded a season-high five helpers in Quebec’s 10-1 victory over Baie-Comeau on Dec. 30
*Led Quebec in defensemen assists (38) and points (43) and was ranked third on the team in plus/minus (+25). Among league defensemen, he ranked tied for seventh in assists and tied for 13th in scoring.
*Scored three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 16 playoff contests, helping his club reach the semi-finals of the 2009 QMJHL Playoffs. Ondrej Roman, C (WHL, Spokane Chiefs/Czech League, Vitkovice HC). Dallas’ fifth round selection (136th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
*Spent the first half of the season with Vitkovice HC of the Czech Republic League, scoring three goals and six assists for nine points through 26 games.
*Skated in 32 games for Spokane of the WHL, collecting 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points. Recorded a seven-game point streak Feb. 7-18 (4-8-12).
*Played in 12 playoff games, scoring one goal and four assists for five points. Colton Sceviour, RW (WHL, Lethbridge Hurricanes). Dallas’ fourth round selection (112th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
*Led his team in assists (51) and points (80) and ranked second on the team in goals (29).
*Skated in 11 playoff games for Lethbridge, scoring four goals and three assists for seven points.
*Among WHL leaders, ranked 15th in assists and 19th in scoring. Austin Smith, RW (NCAA, Colgate). Dallas’ fifth round selection (128th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
*Finished his freshman season with Colgate University in 2009, named the ECAC Rookie of the Week for his performance during the week ending Jan. 5, scoring four goals and three assists with a +5.
*The Dallas native ranked second on the team in points, recording 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points. *His most impressive performance of the season came in the Raiders’ penultimate game of 2008-09 vs. Quinnipiac, when he netted the first hat trick of his collegiate career and added an assist for four points. He scored the game-tying goal with 19 seconds left to force overtime and finished the night 54 seconds into overtime with the game-winning tally. Garrett Stafford, D (AHL, Grand Rapids Griffins). Signed as a free agent July 3, 2008.
*Led team in defensemen goals (11), assists (34) and points (45). Second overall on the team in assists and tied for third in power-play goals (7).
*Ranked seventh in scoring among AHL defensemen leaders.
*Recorded two assists in four AHL playoff games as of Apr. 24.Matt Tassone, C (WHL, Swift Current Broncos). Dallas’ sixth round selection (176th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
*Second on his team in goals (36) and penalty minutes (100), fourth in points (55) and in plus/minus (+23) through 52 games.
*Posted a five-game goal-scoring streak Jan. 17-28 (7-1-8). Ranked tied for 13th in the WHL in goals.
*Underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Mar. 10.Ivan Vishnevskiy, D (AHL, Peoria Rivermen). Dallas’ first round selection (27th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
*Skated in 67 games, recording six goals and 13 assists for 19 points, in his rookie season.
*Played in three games for Dallas this season, recording two assists.
*Appeared in three playoff games for Peoria, recording two assists, as of Apr. 24.Tom Wandell, C (Swedish Elite League, Timra IK). Dallas’ fifth round selection (146th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
*Ranked first on team in assists (26) and plus/minus (+15), second in points (41) and tied for second in goals (15), in 51 games played.
*Appeared in seven playoff games for Timra, recording four assists.
*Skated for Dallas in 14 games this season, recording a goal and two assists for three points.
Another possibility to play in Cedar Park is the Stars’ first round pick this summer. Dallas has the eighth overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft this June, which should be a very good prospect. This player, however, could stay with his current team before turning pro, as he is only 18-years-old. But chances are he will play for the Texas Stars at some point in his development.
The bottom line is that AHL hockey is not that far away for Central Texas.
“People realize that we’re not that far away from playing hockey,” said McLaughlin. “It’s not too early to commit. We feel good about reaching our ticket goals; we would like to average 4,500 fans per game for our inaugural season.”
The Cedar Park Center is scheduled to open on Sept. 26 with a major concert event (artist to be announced soon). The building will include 6,800 seats for hockey and 8,700 for concerts and other events, as well as 24 suites and club seats with a private club lounge.
“The Cedar Park Center is coming along very well,” said McLaughlin. “We are on schedule and we have every expectation that the building will be finished on time. It will be a beautiful arena and it is very exciting to see it come together. It will be a terrific building for hockey and all other types of events.”
The full Texas Stars AHL schedule will be released later this summer.