Disaster struck Texas when a massive winter storm engulfed the region last week. Temperatures dropped into the negatives, causing additional problems. Officials declared a disaster zone for every county in Texas. Hockey was the least of everyone’s concerns during the week but the Dallas Stars took a hit with a minor public relations blip alongside their abrupt schedule changes.
The eight-game homestand turned into four as half the games need new dates after postponements. Controversy surrounded the team whenever they originally planned to play on Monday, Feb. 15 against the Nashville Predators and canceled at the last hour. The Stars must make up eight postponed games, adding to an already strenuous schedule. Here’s what Texas went through over the past week.
The Power Problem
People are rightfully up in arms because of the power companies. Millions of Texans lost power when the temperature dropped below 0 during the evening of Feb. 15. Power companies implemented rolling blackouts in the state due to skyrocketing demand. People went without electricity for hours and some even days, creating dangerous conditions for people who couldn’t warm their homes.
As the hours passed on Feb. 15, the likelihood of the Predators and Stars playing that night remained grim but still a go. People were unhappy that millions were without power while the American Airlines Center expected to host scheduled Stars and Dallas Mavericks games. The controversy came when they used electricity to light the arena while others lost power to their homes.
Right Decision, Wrong Time
Fans started making their way to the American Airline Center in anticipation of watching the Stars game. They waited until the last minute before they made the ultimate decision to postpone the game. Fans were already inside the building or waiting outside when the time came. Players from both teams already made it to the arena. It was not the Stars nor the league that made the final decision. The Office of the Mayor of Dallas stepped in to make the call. Criticism came whenever it seemed like they would play the game despite millions without power. Outrage hit other cities in Texas, especially in Austin and Houston after pictures surfaced of darkened neighborhoods in the foreground of brightly lit skyscrapers. Fans think they made the correct decision postponing the game but waited too long.
Making the Most Out of a Horrible Situation
Texans are not used to this much snowfall or temperatures. Most of the roads froze over, closing many stores and businesses. Stars fans donned their ice skates to take to the streets in a frozen winter anti-wonderland. Many fans played their Winter Classics in the street or better yet, frozen swimming pools.
Warming shelters brought in many cold Texans and their pets to keep them safe. Stars players opened their homes to other teammates. On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the temperature reached -2°F in Dallas, The coldest since 1899 and 1949. If the NHL wanted to borrow the temperatures from Dallas for the Lake Tahoe outdoor games this weekend, then be their guest.
Game 8 PPD
The Stars will have over a full week off when they play again on Monday, Feb. 22 against the Florida Panthers in the warm Sunshine State. Their eight-game homestand got cut in half because of this winter storm. The Stars now have eight postponed games on their 2020-21 schedule, four against the Lightning. This number is remarkable because they played only 12. They postponed two games against the Predators. Tack on two more with the games on Feb. 18 and 20 against the Tampa Bay Lightning needing a new date. They still have yet to make up a single game, adding on to the already foru rescheduled games after their Covid-19 outbreak at the start of the season.
The schedule is now beyond strenuous. The Stars played 12 games while some teams like the Vancouver Canucks will have 22 by the time the Stars play again. Few words can describe the scenario when it comes to the Stars’ remaining schedule. They will likely have to make these new four up at the end of the season. This causes havoc on the schedule because of the playoffs. It will take about an extra week to play these four games and now the playoffs might be pushed back to compensate.
Hockey Is the Least Concern Right Now
With Texas declared as a disaster zone, postponing these games was the right decision. It wouldn’t have felt right holding these Stars games while so many people fought to stay warm. Stars hockey was the least of concerns during this crisis. They could have decided to postpone the game earlier. Some Stars fans wanted these games to take their minds off the situation for a few hours.
The cold temperature busted many water pipes that flooded homes. Grocery stores closed, stranding many without food and water. The few open food places had many hours of queue lines of people just trying to feed their families. Texans will not forget this past week. The Stars return to the ice on Monday, Feb. 22 with an extra chip on their shoulder as they play for Texas. Everyone is ready to move forward and end this week.