The Dallas Stars and the Dr. Pepper StarCenter chain opened a new arena in Mansfield, with a ribbon cutting ceremony this evening to commemorate the official opening.
The chain of StarCenter arenas have different naming conventions for their rinks. In many cases, the names are a holdover from before each rink joined the chain. For example, Plano’s arena has two sheets, one named the US Rink and the other named the World Rink. McKinney used directional names, with the North Rink and the South Rink. Richardson’s are simply Red and Blue.
However, some of the rinks in the chain chose to honor the Stars in some way. Euless went with Gold and Green, though perhaps that should be updated now to Victory Green and Black, or something similar. The sheet that the Stars practice on in Frisco is fittingly called the Stars Rink. Farmers Branch took it a step further and named theirs after team owner Tom Gaglardi and former coach and GM Bob Gainey.
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Mansfield’s two new sheets will be called the Hatcher Rink and the Morrow Rink in honor of the pair of long-tenured former captains.
Hatcher was the captain from 1995-2003, including for the Stars’ Stanley Cup championship, which made him the first Cup-winning, American-born captain. He held the captaincy the longest in franchise history. He played 827 of his 1045 career games in Dallas before departing in free agency for his hometown team, the Red Wings.
Morrow led the team from 2006-2013, taking over after Mike Modano stepped down. Morrow barely missed out on the 1999 Cup run, making the team for the first time in 2000, just in time to lose in the Finals. He stayed with the team until he was traded to the Penguins in 2013. He played for a few more years, including a second Finals appearance with the Lightning, but retired 9 games short of 1000, 835 of which were played in a Stars jersey.
The StarCenter in Farmers Branch recently added a Texas Hockey History Center in a nod by the chain to honor the Stars and the hockey history in the area. Naming the rinks after Morrow and Hatcher is another nice way for them to do that, and perhaps they should rename some of the other rinks to honor other former players, coaches, and executives. It’s nothing major for them to do, but it’s a small gesture of appreciation for the people who had a hand in making the franchise what it is.
Though the Mansfield rink has been holding some public sessions over the last few weeks already, it will officially be open to the public now for any fans who want to check it out. Opening festivities continue throughout the day tomorrow.