Home Hockey jerseys Stars, Coyotes treated in a fun and intimate atmosphere

Stars, Coyotes treated in a fun and intimate atmosphere


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For the 1,200 El Paso residents at the El Paso County Events Center, Sunday night’s Kraft Hockeyville exhibition game between the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes was a once in a lifetime event.

For the players, it was a throwback to another time in their lives where they made their way to the 17,000-seat arenas they usually now call home.

“It’s fun coming back to an arena like this,” Dallas center Joe Pavelski said after morning practice. “The ceiling is a little lower, the ice seems a little smaller. I have spent a lot of time in rinks like this. It’s a great game, a great weekend. We are delighted to be coming out here. fans for the morning skate is good. “

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Pavelski scored the goal that gave Dallas the lead in earnest in what turned into a 6-3 Stars win in a game that featured four lead changes. Dallas scored all three of the third period goals in a game that also provided fans with two fights (without a draw).

Dallas also won a 2-0 post-game shootout, staged to entertain fans.

While the venue was small by NHL standards, the event was important to the El Paso hockey community, which filled the event center, starting with Sunday morning practice and obviously culminating in the focus. 7 p.m. game.

Many fans were dressed in their hockey jerseys, with the hometown Rhinos being the most prevalent, followed by the Stars and then the Coyotes, but many teams were represented. The mascots, Victor E. Green of Dallas and Howler of Arizona, danced with the fans.

“How often could something like this happen?” “It’s such a great night for El Paso. For everyone to come and watch everyone on TV to see what we bring to hockey is amazing. We are so proud of everyone here.”

She was there with several other Rhino fans.

“It’s so great for the whole community, there are so many different people, new faces here,” said Sherri Morris. “It’s a real community event.

While Phoenix had a lot of boisterous fans, Dallas outnumbered them. Some of the loudest cheers, however, were for the members of the Rhino Youth Team who came to shovel ice during breaks in play.

“It’s amazing, it’s great to see a game here in El Paso, I never thought I would see them here,” said Jerry Waker, wearing a Minnesota North Stars jersey he received from his sister. “I usually have to travel to see the Stars. I don’t do this very often, so it’s so much fun.”

Dallas coach Rick Bowness thought the crowd would be behind his team.

“Phoenix is ​​a little closer than Dallas, but we represent Texas in the NHL, so it was good to have the crowd behind us,” he said.

He was also satisfied with the spectacle offered by the two teams.

“It was a great atmosphere, it was a very entertaining game for the fans,” said Bowness. “We gave them a lot of goals, there were some setbacks. It was a great game for us, I know we really enjoyed coming last night, we enjoyed our day today, we have enjoyed the game, it was a wonderful experience for us to come to El Paso. “

This sentiment has been widely echoed.

“It was great to be here,” said winning goalie Jake Oettinger of the Stars. “I had never been to El Paso, I think they did a great job putting on a fun show and there was a great turnout. It was a success and we got what we came for, a victory.”

As for the Events Center, Oettinger said: “We all grew up playing in rinks like this, it reminds me of when I was playing in the juniors. It was a great crowd, a great atmosphere, it made us feel good. all brought back to our roots. It was a fun experience. “

Coyotes coach André Tourigny said the ice, with fans just above the ice, made the game more entertaining for players and fans.

“The closeness (with the fans) was there, it was really interesting, really fun,” he said. “It was great, a small ice rink, the fans were close to the players. The pace of the game was really fast, it was a great experience.”

It was an experience that the El Paso hockey community and two professional teams will not forget.

Bret Bloomquist can be reached at 915-546-6359; [email protected]; @Bretbloomquist on Twitter.


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