Back on September 4, 2013, the Texas Stars released the team’s promotional calendar for the upcoming season. Friday night April 4 2014 at the Cedar Park Center was slated as Toby Petersen bobblehead night. Less than two weeks before that date arrived, the Stars announced that they would also be honoring Mike Modano at that game for his contributions to the sport of hockey in the state of Texas.
Ultimately the extent of Modano’s involvement amounted to the showing of a highlight reel on the jumbotron prior to the game, followed by Modano dropping a ceremonial puck near center ice, and later signing copies of a book in the concourse. (He also rendered my wife starstruck and speechless when he passed her in the stairwell.)
While in town Modano took time to visit the local kids who had signed up for the Dallas Stars Little Rookie Program, a free four week program for kids ages 4-8 designed by Modano which uses hockey to encourage teamwork, education and physical fitness.
Brett Ritchie Steals the Show
However, once the regular puck dropped in this tilt, neither Toby Petersen nor Mike Modano took center stage. Instead, it was Texas Stars rookie and Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie who stole the show, setting a franchise record with 4 goals and adding an assist to help Texas to a 5-1 win over Lake Erie. The 6’4″ 220 lb prototypical power forward was dominant all over the ice, and he got plenty of help from linemates Justin Dowling and Mike Hedden, as together the line registered 11 points.
Ritchie now has 22-25-47 points in 65 games. He’s currently riding a seven game points streak, tallying 7-6-13 points in that span. The Orangeville, Ontario native is unafraid to shoot the puck; he currently leads the Stars’ active roster with 211 shots, including two games this season in which he registered 10 shots, something previously done just once by a Texas Star since the franchise opened shop in Cedar Park back in 2009.
The former Niagara Icedog also rang one of his eight shots on the night hard off the post, but the real show was in his 2nd and 3rd goals of the night. They featured pure power-forward moves, taking the puck wide and around the defense before driving hard to the net and showing off some killer mitts down low (at the :19 and :34 marks):
Brett Ritchie and the 2011 Draft Class
Prior to the 2011 NHL entry draft, Brendan Ross wrote a draft prospect profile of Ritchie for THW that hits all the right marks in predicting the kid’s burgeoning success. Ritchie is a member of a Dallas Stars draft class that is now beginning to make its mark in Cedar Park, one that includes Jamie Oleksiak, Matej Stransky and Jyrki Jokipakka. Together they have helped Texas to a franchise record nine game winning streak, and with just five games remaining the team’s 99 points are tops in the American Hockey League.