The NHL Season Began 10 Days Ago. The Dallas Stars Just Got Started.
The Dallas Stars were one of the last teams to emerge from the National Hockey League’s playoff bubble in Edmonton, Alb., In late September after falling in six games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. They are also the last team to start the shortened 2021 season, this time because more than two-thirds of the squad tested positive for Covid-19 when they returned to training camp.
Dallas have postponed their first four games of the season, which began on January 13 for the rest of the league, and played their first game against the Nashville Predators on Friday night, a 7-0 win.
It was an odd puck drop for the reigning champions of the Western Conference, made even more unusual by the circumstances of its start. The team with the NHL’s largest Covid-19 outbreak to date is also one of only three hockey franchises welcoming fans to the rink as the number of new coronavirus infections increases and many communities already have strict restrictions on them exacerbate public health. At the start on Friday, 4,214 people were present
“As of this writing, we don’t have enough seats with the Manifesto for the people who want to come,” said Brad Alberts, Stars President and Chief Executive Officer. “We got an overwhelming response from people who want to come to our games.”
Texas health protocols limit participation in professional indoor and outdoor sports events to 50%. The stars, however, keep the crowd below 5,000 – about a hair 27% of the American Airlines Center’s 18,532 seats.