Dallas Stars: Comparing Traditional And Nontraditional Hockey Markets

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 16: Sean Couturier /

A Trip To The City Of Brotherly Love

Let me start by saying this: the city of Philadelphia is cold. Also, they really care about their sports teams.

Back in July, a group of friends and myself planned a trip to Philadelphia and New York for December just after finals week ended. The main intent of the trip was to see the Dallas Stars take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

After what seemed like forever, we finally finished up with finals and took to the skies. When we landed in Philadelphia, it immediately started snowing. That was strike one for us Texans (just kidding, I love the snow).

Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers /

Philadelphia Flyers

Only this wasn’t the snow we typically see in Texas. This was bitter wind to the face and snow that felt like small razorblades hitting your cheeks. Yowza.

As we walked around the city the day before the game, one thing was clearly evident: they love their Philadelphia Eagles. While there was a decent amount of Flyers gear being sported around, the Eagles reigned supreme. People would even see one of our green Stars beanies from a ways away and track us down because they thought we were Eagles fans. And when we informed them that we were from Dallas and in fact rooted for the Cowboys, it was like we had told them that we enjoyed eating out of port-a-potties for a living. They found us just flat out revolting.

When they found out we were Dallas Stars fans, the results were surprisingly not much better. While the Eagles and Cowboys have a longstanding rivalry, the Stars and Flyers do not any evident grievances with each other. We eventually found out the reason they hated the Stars so much, though. It was simply because they were from Dallas, the city that everyone in Philadelphia hates.

In a local sports fan shop in the middle of the city, they even sold flasks that had “Dallas Sucks” printed across them. It’s just something they have against the city.

While some Flyers fans gawked at us or messed with us, others would casually greet us and ask us if we were in town from Dallas for the game. The results varied, and it was a 50/50 shot with each Flyers fan we came in contact with.

We were immediately enveloped in a sea of orange when we arrived at the game. And we hadn’t even made it through the metal detectors before the security guards had begun playfully joking with us.

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The playful jokes carried on for the beginning of the game, but eventually turned into some not-so-playful ones. More on that later.

Much like the Stars and Sharks, the Flyers are VERY dedicated and loyal to their team. But their kind of loyalty was a bit different. I’m not sure exactly what it was that separated the two types, but there was definitely something.

Their dedication was simply on a different level. It wasn’t necessarily higher or lower, but there was a clear distinction. It almost seemed as though the Flyers fans expected their team to perform perfectly and nothing else would be accepted. If one player stepped out of line, it was as if they were all expecting his head postgame.

The interaction with fan in-game was a 50/50 gamble as well. There were some fans that kindly introduced themselves, welcomed us to their city, and had some questions about who they should be worried about in the Stars’ lineup. They would also tell us that the rumors of them being a rude and horrible fan base to visitors wasn’t true as long as we didn’t act like “big-headed idiots.”

But then there were others that talked non-stop trash about the Stars being a worthless hockey team. There was also a guy who continually berated the team, starting chants and boos throughout the game. He also began multiple “Ref You Suck” chants.

The Dallas Stars ended up losing in overtime, and the Flyers fans made sure we knew about it (though this was probably due to too much partying as well). On the way out, they would call out Ben Bishop’s name loudly when they saw us and ask us if we were heading home. And somehow, the Cowboys would always make their way into the conversation.

But they would eventually come to even ground with us and begin asking us why we had decided to fly up to Philadelphia and hoping that we had enjoyed our time at the game and that the fans hadn’t been too harsh on us.

With the traditional hockey market, there was definitely a lot more raw passion. Fans didn’t care what other people thought of them or their team. All they cared about was their team winning at the end of the day and were prepared to do anything to help make that happen. Even as Dallas Stars fans, it was pretty intimidating to go through. I can only imagine what the Pittsburgh Penguins fans go through.

The traditional hockey market offered established traditions, an intense in-game experience, and fans that would be friendly as long as the game wasn’t going on.

As you can see, there are plenty of differences and similarities that I witnessed in my two separate experiences. The Dallas Stars lost in both situations, but the ability to see just how a nontraditional and traditional market interacted made the entire trip worthwhile.

Next: Stars Can Save Dallas From A Disastrous Sports Year

So at the end of the day, it really is a matter of preference. It all depends on what you like and how you enjoy supporting your favorite hockey team.

The Dallas Stars are definitely a nontraditional hockey market, and that’s perfectly okay to be quite honest.