It was a very short drive to Dallas. We were already at the border of Oklahoma and Texas, and Dallas is in the north part of the state, so it was a short little hop to get there. We found an RV park in the suburb of Arlington, which is west of Dallas/Fort Worth. We got up the next morning and drove into the city to find the American Airlines Center. It is a beautiful facility and was easy to find. Graham went in for the game day skate and I stayed out in the parking lot in the RV. There was a knock at the door all of a sudden and there was Scott McDonald from Listowel along with his buddies Brian, Bruce and Gary . They were on their annual hockey trip and knew from our schedule that we were going to be in Dallas at the same time. They were driving by the arena on a service road and saw the RV parked in the parking lot. They knew who it was right away. We had a great visit and by the time Graham came back out we were still talking. For those of you that don’t know where Listowel is, it is about 30 miles west of Elmira. So when we were this far from home, it was like seeing our neighbours. We made arrangements to meet them at the game and found our new spot to stay for the night. Parking Lot "C" a couple of blocks from the rink. Along the way we have met some amazing people involved with the public relations and media for the respective teams. Mark Janko is one of them. He is the Director of Public Relations for the Dallas Stars and truly showed us what southern hospitality is all about. Thanks Mark for everything you did for us. We were also fortunate to meet the owner of the team Mr. Thomas Hicks and his son Thomas Hicks Jr. They were very gracious and kind and asked us all about our travels. They also told us that the Stars Foundation would be making a donation to our cause. Mr. Hicks is also the owner of the Texas Rangers major league baseball team, so he enjoys sports and said hockey has become a passion for him. After the game we went downstairs to meet some of the players and get our posters signed. Captain Brendan Morrow didn’t play in the game, but came out and met with us for a picture and he signed the captain’s poster. Mike Modano signed the player’s poster for us and also chatted for a bit and posed for a picture. I also had a good chat with a couple of local Dallas Firefighters that were at the game to look after any medical emergencies. It was a pleasure to meet both Ken and Juan. Thanks guys for taking time to chat with me. Well, it was another win for the home team with the Snyders in attendance. The Stars managed to win in a shoot out putting our record at 9 and 3. It is now twelve teams down and eighteen to go. We are off to Houston to visit friends and to see an AHL game. We have two days to get to Houston, so we stayed in Dallas for the night after the game in the parking lot. On Sunday we drove for a couple of hours and stopped at a RV Park in the middle of nowhere basically, right off the highway. It was noisy, but easy to get on and off.
Graham's Game Report
Dec 2, 2006
American Airlines Arena
Minnesota Wild vs. Dallas Stars
Both teams came into this game on three game losing streaks after getting off to strong starts. The injury bug has hit both sides and each team played with some desperation when the game was on the line. The Stars jumped in front twice only to have the Wild move in front 3-2 early in the 3rd period. The rest of the game was intense as you could feel how badly both teams wanted the two points. A Wild turnover allowed Jussi Jokinen to walk in alone late in the game and tie the score. Our thoughts turned to seeing our first shootout of the trip and when overtime solved nothing the showdown was on. The Wild were missing Gaborik and Demitra, their top two scoring threats, so they were decided underdogs to the masters of the shootout. The Stars are an amazing 14-1 in the shootout and young Jokinen is money in the bank at an unbelievable 12 of 15. Zubov, Jokinen and Ribeiro all scored for the home side and Turco’s stop on the first shot was all they needed for the two points. It was an exciting game with some good scoring chances from two teams who pride themselves on strong defense.
I had the chance to chat with two Midwestern Jr B alumni after the game. They each had different memories of the old Elmira Arena when I told them of our plans for a new arena in Dan’s name. Marty Turco played for the Cambridge Winterhawks in the year of the double round robin for the Sutherland Cup. He was never thrilled with the crazy bounces and small corners in our little bandbox. Jeff Halpern played for an exceptionally talented Stratford Cullitons team that defeated the Elmira Sugar Kings 4-0 in the league final in Dan’s only year of Jr B hockey. Jeff enjoyed the small ice surface and the feeling of the fan’s being right on top of you and extremely loud. Two different takes on the same building and a reminder how small the hockey world is. One of the real pleasures of this trip has been exploring the many ties around the hockey world. There hasn’t been a stop yet where we haven’t found some connection.
Now it’s off to Houston for an AHL game with the Aeros and a chance to catch up with Woolwich native Cam Stewart and Dan’s good friend and former teammate Curtis Murphy.