It was a touching scene inside American Airlines Center on Monday when Trevor Strader, son of late Dallas Stars play-by-play man Dave Strader, performed the national anthem before their game against the Winnipeg Jets.
The hockey world lost Dave Strader on Oct. 1 after he passed away following a long battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct cancer. While he was diagnosed in June 2016, he managed to work five Stars games last season as well as a few during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This is the second straight year Trevor has performed during the the team’s Hockey Fights Cancer night. The lavender warmup jerseys players wore during warmups will be auctioned off with proceeds, along with those from a 50/50 raffle, benefiting charity, including the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation.
Strader’s voice is missed not only in Dallas, but all around the hockey world. Next week he’ll be honored during the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Toronto as winner of the 2017 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, which is gived to members of the radio and television industry “who make outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of ice hockey during their broadcasting career.”
“People who I’ve never met before, have talked to me for 20 minutes about not only what an incredible broadcaster he was, but how all he talked about was his kids,” Trevor Strader told Sean Shapiro of NHL.com. “Which I knew he was proud of us, so knowing we were always on the front of his mind, even at his job. He was always a dad and a husband first and then did his job. There has just been amazing support from so many people.”
When Jamie Benn met Kendall Murray after Saturday’s morning skate, he left her with the promise that he would score that night against the Colorado Avalanche.
Eight months ago, the idea of Murray standing there as the Stars captain made that promise seemed unbelievable.
On Feb. 10, Murray, 16, was the sole survivor of a car accident in Plano, Texas that killed two of her friends, Lilly Davis and Sam Sacks. She was burned on 25 percent of her body, and some of her injuries included two broken arms, a broken pelvis and a skull fracture.
Two months later, as Murray lay in her hospital bed at Medical City Plano still unable to walk, Benn and Tyler Seguin, her two favorite players, made a surprise visit. The news about the accident had reached the Stars organization and the players jumped at the opportunity to stop by and say hello.
The smile on her face as she saw who was walking into her room was one that those inside will never forget. The running joke throughout the 45-minute visit was that everyone could tell when Murray was getting excited because her heart-rate monitor would spike.
“When those two walked in, it just shot up to 170,” Murray told Pro Hockey Talk Tuesday afternoon with a laugh.
Before Benn and Seguin said their goodbyes, they told Murray they wanted to see her at American Airlines Center this season once she was back on her feet and walking again. The day before that visit she had started the process of learning to walk again, a she would ultimately accomplish.
Not long before Benn made his promise, Murray fulfilled hers by walking around arena during Saturday’s morning skate. There she saw Seguin again and got to chat with Stars general manager Jim Nill. She later would meet up with Benn when her told her his plans for the game.
“I’ll score for you. I’ll make sure it’s for you.”
In the opening minute of the second period, Benn delivered on his promise, with Murray’s other favorite Star playing a role in the game’s first goal. After an Avalanche turnover in the neutral zone, Seguin fired a pass off the side boards which was picked by Benn at center ice leading to a 2-on-1. Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson gave the captain enough space for him to then fire a wrist shot blocker side on Semyon Varlamov.
Murray, wearing her dad’s Neal Broten Minnesota North Stars jersey, watched in disbelief.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, he did it,’” Murray said, “That’s actually for me and I knew that it was for me. It was so crazy. It was the first goal, too. It made the Stars be ahead in the game which was awesome.”
To top off an already memorable day, Seguin would score at the end of the second period to give the Stars a 2-0 lead. He would later complete a Gordie Howe Hat Trick after scrapping with Patrik Nemeth in the third period. The pucks from both goals were retrieved and given to Murray as a gift from the players after the game.
“That was just icing on the cake. Great to have both of them score and have Tyler get in his first NHL fight,” Murray said. “Quite a game to watch.”
The Murray family attends a handful of Stars games every season and will also be in attendance for a December game in Minnesota against the Wild while in town visiting family. Given that Benn is 100 percent in goal promises, he may have to make a few more to Kendall this season. Or at least Seguin could get in on the fun, too.
Eight months after the accident, Murray is doing well. A junior in high school, she’s back in regular classes with her friends and even attended homecoming last month. Twice a week she’s in occupational therapy and physical therapy and seeing progress. The tear in her carotid artery is fully healed and nerve damage in her hand is slowly improving. At the end of October she’ll be discharged from PT, marking another milestone on her journey to full recovery.
“I’m coming down to the end of it all which is nice so I can get back to my normal high school life,” she said.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, but there’s one aspect of their game that the Calgary Flames don’t want to emulate.
During the 2015 playoffs, Chicago leaned heavily on defensemen Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Johnny Oduya. In early May Michal Rozsival suffered an ankle injury and that led to the Blackhawks using their top-four defensemen even more extensively as no other blueliners averaged more than 10 minutes per contest.
That worked out, but it was also a big burden on those four players. Calgary had a group that, when healthy, could similarly carry that kind of load in T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, and Kris Russell, but after acquiring Dougie Hamilton over the summer, Calgary won’t have to resort to that. The Flames should be able to use all three pairings with confidence, which has the potential to pay off as the campaign progresses.
“When we throw a defenseman on the ice, he will be 100% rested because part of our style is go, go, go,” Flames coach Bob Hartley told the Calgary Sun.
The main question now is what the Flames’ defensive pairings will look like as Hamilton potentially throws a wrench in their old setup. It’s a good problem for Hartley to have and he’ll deal with it by trying a lot of different combinations over the preseason.
“It was working out, monitoring how I was doing, continuing to see doctors to exhaust every avenue and find out exactly if I could play,” Peverley said to the DMN. “It’s a case that’s very complicated, and what I have learned is there is no 100 percent to medicine and, unfortunately, I can’t play anymore.”
Peverley fought his way from going undrafted to playing 442 regular season games and 59 postseason contests in his career. He’s likely best remembered for his time with Boston, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2011.
It’s never a happy moment to see a player hang up his skates at what he believes is a premature age (Peverley is 33).
On the other hand, there are probably a few onlookers who are breathing a sigh of relief.
Peverley’s “cardiac incident” was a truly frightening scene, and many were worried about the risks he might be taking if he resumed NHL play. Some of the choice might have been taken out of his hands, as it’s plausible that no GM wanted to roll the dice with his health.
Heika shares more details regarding Peverley’s decision and his role with the Stars organization here.
Tyler Seguin already spoke out about his former teammate:
Rich Peverley was the ultimate teammate and the best guy to sit beside during my first 4 years. Heck of a career & all the best in new role!