One of my favorite sports icons is the Ted Lasso “BELIEVE” sign.

The fact that the premise for the fictional television show is so outlandish and off-the-wall that you likely shouldn’t believe makes the process all the more touching.

A college football coach from the U.S. gets hired to coach an English Premier League soccer team, and we learn quickly it’s because the owner wants the team to fail. But step by step, episode by episode, the peculiar ways of coach Lasso start to show that the inner workings of the mind and soul are every bit as important as what happens on the pitch, and we get a wonderful success story out of it.

Ted Lasso scrawls the word “BELIEVE” on a yellow piece of paper and tapes it up in the Richmond dressing room, and that becomes a critical theme for the entire series. Believe in yourself, believe in him, believe in each other. It’s a common theme for sports teams, but they dig into the details of just how difficult that process is for each individual - and that’s where it becomes memorable.

The interesting thing about sports teams is that each season is different, each team is an entity unto itself. You get players at different stages of their careers, you get people at different stages of their lives, you get a slice of humanity every day you show up. And in doing that, you build a family.

The journey of this year’s Stars team is a long and interesting one. I give former PR guru Tom Holy a lot of credit for getting Joe Pavelski to consider the Stars in the summer of 2019. Holy and Pavelski were friends in San Jose when they worked there together. Pavelski was allowed to explore free agency, and Holy suggested that Dallas might be a nice spot for Pavelski. He was right, of course. The hockey fates then created a situation where former Sharks coach Pete DeBoer was searching for a new job, and Pavelski’s presence in Texas created a nice twist in the script. That has worked out really well up to this point.

You push that forward, and the fact DeBoer and Pavelski are close enough to have a conversation about the veteran and his family opening their house for rookie Wyatt Johnston in a “billet” situation last season, and you start to see how all of this chain reaction can happen. Maybe Johnston would have been just fine without the guidance of the Pavelski family. Maybe the Pavelski’s would have been fine without establishing a close relationship with Johnston, but the story seems so much better when you look back at it now.

The relationship between Johnston and Logan Stankoven – and maybe even Mavrik Bourque going forward – is another episode in the script. The relationship between the Finnish players, or Matt Duchene and Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment, it all takes on a deeper meaning when you start to piece it all together. Heck, look at goalie Scott Wedgewood. He’s a wheel in the dressing room that has so many spokes coming off, from his playful practice routines with Jason Robertson to his holiday dinners with Thomas Harley.

There is a very special feeling to this team right now.

Of course, every team can be this way. You can have these emotions and not even make the playoffs. You can have these emotions and fall short in a Game 7. The 2020 team hunkered down in a hotel for two months and lost to the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. There were a hundred stories there that created a special season for those players. Now, Rick Bowness is in Winnipeg and a good deal of the roster has turned over, but that’s the hard part of the “sports family.” It doesn’t always stay together, it doesn’t always last.

I remember something Luke Glendening said near the end of the Vegas series last year. He didn’t want the season to end because he loved being a part of that team. He knew the group wouldn’t be the same this season, and that’s a hard thing for people when they emotionally invest and bond with one another.

But that’s part of the beauty of “BELIEVE.” There is a small window and a big window in that sentiment. In the short term, you believe in your teammates, you believe the guy next to you will be there for you. That could be as small as trusting he is there to take a pass or pick up a defensive assignment. If you watch the Stars this season, they are at their best when they trust their teammates and believe in the system. You can see it during this recent hot streak as the team makes one-touch passes and controls possession.

During this 9-1-0 run, the Stars are outscoring the opposition 4.3-1.8 per game. They are outshooting them, 33.8-25.8. They are playing their best hockey of the year by far.

That’s also a product of good health, good systems, and a lot of superb talent. Jim Nill and his staff have put together a very good roster, and that can’t be overlooked. But there is something else here. There is chemistry, an understanding, a belief. I’m always intrigued that we get to glimpse it from the outside, but we don’t get to really feel it. I sometimes wonder if the people close to the players even understand the bond. I think it’s something special that is truly kept inside the group.

At the end of the Ted Lasso series, Richmond finishes second on the last day of the season, so there is disappointment. But in the key scene, Coach Lasso is giving a motivational speech and points to the “BELIEVE” sign that is no longer there. It was torn up in an earlier episode and, it is assumed, thrown in the trash.

But players come forward and lay a piece of the torn sign on a table in the middle of the room. Each player had kept a piece in a special place, and it shows just how much impact the sign, the coach, and their teammates had on them. It’s a great message about how a team is comprised of individuals who come together to form something even bigger.

We’re not even to the playoffs yet, so this is truly a false start on my part, but it just feels right after the win in Colorado on Sunday night. The Stars overcame some tough travel, personal slumps and potential mental demons from past Avalanche losses, and still dominated. They believed in each other, in the system, and in themselves – kind of a perfect sports television episode for one night.

So, heck, it sure seems like a good time to point out the series is heading in the right direction.

Stay tuned, it could be fun.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.