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'They Never Give Up': Dallas Stars Fans Cheer From Afar In Quest For Stanley Cup

Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn shoots a puck into a goal against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn backhands a shot past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on Jan. 27, 2020.

The Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning are charting new territory for the NHL — it's the league's first all-southern Stanley Cup series. Dallas fans haven't waivered in their dedication to the team, despite not being able to watch the championship bouts in person.

It’s taken decades for cold climate hockey to experience this, its first all-southern championship. Brina Tignor is ready.

"I’ve followed the Stars since Day One," Tignor said. "I grew up watching minor league hockey in Oklahoma City. I was the weirdo who had a Hockey News subscription when I was a teenager."

Tignor moved to Dallas in 1989, four years ahead of the Stars who moved from Minnesota in 1993. She says the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1999 looks a lot like today’s Stars.

"Because they never give up. And they’re grinders. They just keep going and keep going. And I think that’s what makes them special and got them to where they are now,” Tignor said.

Gary Bowen shares Tignor’s take on this team, if, he says, they can maintain that grinding defense against Tampa’s top offense. They couldn’t Wednesday in Game 3 — they lost 5-2. What first impressed Bowen about hockey was the players’ fitness.

"I became aware pretty quickly — especially after I went ice skating for the first time — that hockey players are probably the most well-conditioned athletes around."

Bowen’s hockey appreciation grew even more, because he was an athlete who played baseball and football.

"But it’s on skates and half the time, to quote Ginger Rogers, you’re going backwards."

Stars fan Darren Cameron wants this team moving forward again. He said he wishes he could see them in person. Both teams are playing in the pandemic bubble in Edmonton, Alberta, thousands of miles away. Even though fans aren’t there, Cameron says they’re cheering from afar — here — at what may be the exact right time.

“There’s so much that divides us right now. It’s nice when something can unite a city. Forget politics and forget everything else. You can all root for the Stars," Cameron said.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.