Tag Archive for face paint

Stars Game 1 – A New Hope

by Matt Day
Opening Night at American Airlines Center

Over forty nights a year are spent together with thousands of the same people, with the same hopes and dreams as you on the roller coaster ride we call a hockey season. All that time spent experiencing the same intense emotions, you begin to bond with other fans, the atmosphere, and even the team itself. You never want that feeling to end, you want it to last as long as possible but one day you hear the final whistle and it’s over.

We are left with an empty void for months. That whole time we try to recreate the experience with no success. We try to figure out what went wrong and who should be cut or fired. We think about the good in the team and what we can build on. We might follow the draft, free agent signings, and trades. We listen to other fan or writer opinions while we form our own. We watch preseason hoping we see something positive in the team, but even that doesn’t satisfy our need to fill the void left at the last season’s end. This whole offseason has been building up to one moment. This is the moment when months of speculation start to become reality. New general managers, coaches, and player changes finally start taking shape.

This is game one, this is opening night and there is always something special in the air. Is it the smell of the ice, because it has never smelt fresher? Could it be the scent of vulcanized rubber or the sound of the pucks as they hit the glass? Those are great things but I speak of a feeling shared by thousands of fans that attend the opener. It is the feeling of hope. Every team starts the same and there is a hope that this time will be special. Perhaps this is our year you never know.

I never miss an opener because the experience is one of the best you will get this side of the playoffs. I have been to every home opener since 1996. I’ve missed important meetings, business trips and more. In fact the importance of this game to me was clearly shown in 2010. After being diagnosed with colon cancer my doctor scheduled surgery for me to have a puck sized tumor removed. He told me the date and I said, “No! That’s the day of the Stars home opener I will not miss it. What’s the next possible date and can you get me well enough to make the game?” I made the game and have been cancer free ever since. The point of that story is that the home opener has come to symbolize even more to me.

It’s a celebration of new hopes and beginnings for the team and for me personally. That’s why you might see me going the extra mile in my crazy outfits or my efforts to greet the fans and get the crowd into the game. If it’s a new beginning then we want to get it started right. Fans can motivate teams, a motivated team gains momentum, momentum can win games and create winning streaks. So what are we waiting for? Let’s Go Stars!!!

My opening night costume, alongside the Dallas Stars Ice Girls

My opening night costume, alongside the Dallas Stars Ice Girls.

Fans Gone Wild

by Jay Leask

While most Old School Stories are about specific instances and moments within Stars history, for me, that’s not what makes me bleed green. Sure, Brenden skating at full speed down the ice with the grin of a five-year-old on Christmas Day after scoring the game winner in the, what, third overtime (sorry, fourth) against the Sharks in the playoffs … yeah, that was awesome … but that’s just single a moment that gets me excited.

No, not for me. I mean, my blood bleeds green, sure! I love the Stars. Leaving Dallas was made infinitely harder in 2010 because of my fandom for the Dallas Stars, yes; but I can watch them on TV – well, the internet thanks to Game Center Live on nhl.com.

Stars Fanatics Scarves in 332

Dallas ‘Til I Die
Stars Fanatics Scarves in section 332

No, for me it’s you. I bleed green because of the friends I’ve made and the fans I’ve met because of the Stars. I bleed green because my wife and I met at a Stars Fanatics watching party. I bleed green because of Stars Vadar, Bunny, Mohawk Andy, Drummer Boy, Jeff K, Bill Oellermann, Scooter, Whaler Jim, and so many more.

In order to help capture this in more of a specific moment I wanted to focus on a few things that come to mind when I think of what makes me bleed green. To start, the Stars Fanatics. Founded as the Havoc Fanatics, section 332 downright solidified my fandom. I was a fan beforehand. I ran a podcast with my good friend and we had a lot of fun every week bull-shitting about our Stars. However, until I stood in section 332 and learned what it was like to be a cog in the machine cheering, chanting, singing, and otherwise causing as much shenanigans as possible for my team … that’s when I became the fan I am today. The picture above is one of many group photos taken of the Fanatics showing our pride – the “Dallas ‘Til I Die” scarves simply stating what each of us felt. In a war we would fight for the Stars and in the Arena that’s what we did. In addition to the above I wanted to share this video – a TV spot focused on the Fanatics when the Stars were trying to build the in-game craziness. I love these people and I know there were detractors – but these were my people.

Video Credit Jeff K

Speaking of my people. This is Devin Pike and he is absolutely crazy-person – I should know, he officiated my marriage. This was a prototype video we shot for the Stars Fanatics early on. I loved this video and one day I may try to convince some of our diehard inmates to restart the series. My paint was always complex and required a bunch of different brushes and colors, but I ways totally jealous of Devin’s simple yet completely appropriate paint job – and how little time it took to put on.

Video credit Devin Pike

The following non-Stars Fanatics video just seemed appropriate to share here. Stars fans aren’t all crazy, but many are (I’m not talking the cocaine and boob job crowd in the lower bowl, I’m talking about actual fans). And those that are aren’t just crazy in the arena – this video is exactly the creativity and fun attitude that brings me back time and time again.

Video credit Matthew Mahn

All in all I love my Stars and I have no intention of ever giving my loyalties to another team – I’ll cheer for whoever our captain is and whatever knucklehead player we trade for. I’ll support Joe and I’ll even suffer through years (and years … and years) without playoffs. I do this because I love the Stars – but mostly because I love the fans. The Old School Stories on this website are my favorite part of the week (next to, you know, my daughter taking her first steps or whatever). I love the Stars so much that, as you can see below, even my daughter will be Dallas ‘Til She Dies :)

Leask Family Portrait, August 2012

Leask Family Portrait, August 2012

The 1998 Playoffs – Conference Semi-finals

by Matt Day
This is Part 2 of a three part series about the 1998 Playoffs and “The Best Game I Ever Missed”. See below for Part 1 and watch for Part 3 to come on April 12th, 2013.

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The Edmonton Oilers shocked the Stars in seven games in 1997. This would be my chance to finally shake off those feelings from that series. A 3-1 victory was just what I needed to calm my nerves just a bit, but I knew this series was far from over.

Game two brought an act of defiance on my part for I was going to prove superstition wrong. Confident in my Stars I defiantly refused to paint my face. Those who follow superstition enslave themselves to coincidence. I was determined not to let this be my fate. I rolled the dice and lost as my team could not even get one, past Curtis Joseph in a 2-0 loss. After that game I was made to promise that I would not go another playoff game without my war paint.

We returned the favor in-game 3 in a 1-0 shutout in Edmonton. Game four brought another hockey experience that added another dimension to the game. The Stars announced that at the Stars Center in Euless there would be a game watching party. There we would be able to cheer on our Stars when they were on the road. This was a pivotal game and we could use the support of fellow fans like us.

The experience of a crowded room full of strangers, feeling the same intense emotions as me was intoxicating. I couldn’t get enough. The score and momentum went back and forth all game long. We went through every imaginable emotion during that game. When the game ended in a 3-2 Stars victory the room had gone from crowded to cozy and there wasn’t a stranger in the room. You meet your hockey friends at games or online, but at watching parties your Stars friends become Stars family. That is where you truly get to know each other and that was the lesson I was beginning to learn. The next game was just as close as the rest and just as intense as the Stars closed out the Oilers at home. I was finally able to see a series won in person and to be on the happy side of the handshaking ceremony. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Up next the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

The 1998 Playoffs – Conference Quarter-finals

by Matt Day
This is Part 1 of a three part series about the 1998 Playoffs and “The Best Game I Ever Missed”. Watch for Parts 2 to come on April 9th and 12th, 2013.


1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Photo Credit SportsLogos.net

1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Photo Credit SportsLogos.net

After finishing second in points in 1997 the Stars were upset in the first round by the Edmonton Oilers. Determined not to let this happen again the Stars made big news signing free agent Ed Belfour in the offseason. Struggling early in the season with his new defense Belfour finally got into the groove and lead the team to its first President’s trophy and the team’s best record ever, to that point. The playoffs were here again and first on his plate was Eddie’s last team, the San Jose Sharks.

The San Jose Sharks went all out at the trade deadline in 1997 to get Belfour from the Blackhawks in hopes they could work out a deal to resign him. It did not work out and this was their chance for payback with their new goaltender and playoff MVP from last season, Mike Vernon. The payback however did not involve the men between the pipes.

The last season had taught me that with all the excitement that went with playoff hockey also came moments of extreme bitterness. The previous year was my first as a season ticket holder and being upset in the first round had taught me such bitterness. I was 0-4 in playoff games because all four losses in that series were at home. I was eager to end that streak and to taste playoff victory for the first time.

I did not take long for this series to get ugly. Bryan Marchment of the Sharks, who was known for his cheap shots on the other teams key players went to work and may have prevented the Stars from skating the Cup a year early. Marchment took out Joe Nieuwendyk’s right knee and forcing him out of the game. This was only game one of the playoffs and even though the Stars dominated the game in a 4-1 win the victory was bitter-sweet. All my thoughts were on if and when Joe could return. Nieuwendyk was the Stars leading scorer for the season and a huge loss for the team.  Our worries were confirmed when we learned that he had suffered a torn ACL and would be out for the season. The Stars went on to dominate game two as well and you couldn’t help but think this series was over. Someone forgot to inform the Sharks of that though as they took the next two in San Jose to tie the series.

Game five in Dallas again was a nail bitter as the Stars escaped a close one with a 3-2 win. I was living and dying with every shift. Every goal for or against was leaving me on emotional highs or lows. Game six was in San Jose and we really needed to end it there because I was not ready for another game seven. It was another close one and when San Jose forced overtime I could only think, “Oh no, here we go again!” I would have been devastated had the Sharks scored and sent us to another game 7 in Dallas. Another chance to watch my team exit early in round one again would have been too much to bear. Trade deadline acquisition Mike Keane eliminated my fears and the Sharks with his overtime game winner. Injuries to Nieuwendyk and Jere Lehtinen crippled the Stars, but it did not keep them from winning the series in 6.

The Sharks provided a few firsts for me in hockey. My first ever Stars game I went to was a victory against the Sharks in 1995. My first playoff win and series win as a season ticket holder came this series as well as one more first. A tradition was born that series. To celebrate the playoffs my cousin and I wanted to try something different. We noticed a booth outside Reunion Arena that offered free face painting and so both of us had our faces painted all three games of the series. It was fun and we didn’t really think anything of it until a fellow season ticket holder informed us of an interesting coincidence. Having already painted up our superstitious friend had thanked us and pointed out that our personal records were 0-4 without face paint and the Stars were 3-0 when we dawned the war paint. Round one was tough but over it was now time for some revenge in round two.

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