Stars Shine Bright, Bringing Hockey to New Horizons

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There’s a special kind of electricity in the air when the Dallas Stars are deep in the playoffs. The energy crackles on the ice, it thrums in the hearts of fans, and – as Al Montoya, the Stars’ Vice President of Cultural Growth and Strategy, tells us – it sparks a winning feeling that extends far beyond the arena walls and into the community.

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Montoya, the first Cuban-American to play in the NHL, is passionate about growing the game of hockey. But his vision isn’t limited to the rink in Dallas. He sees a chance to break down barriers and share the joy of hockey with under-represented communities, both at home and abroad.

“Mexico City? That’s an opportunity,” says Montoya, his voice brimming with excitement. “A chance to show what we’ve been doing, to get our message across – that hockey is for everyone.”

This message is more than just words. It’s a mission to bring hockey to children who might never have had the opportunity to lace up skates and feel the thrill of gliding across the ice. This April, in Mexico City, that mission took shape in the form of a brand new “Learn to Play” program.

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“It’s a six-week program for kids aged four to ten,” explains Montoya, a hint of pride in his tone. “Fifty lucky youngsters are getting a chance to be introduced to this incredible sport, a sport we love so much.”

Expanding Horizons

This initiative isn’t a solo effort. The Stars have partnered with the National Hockey League to make this program a reality. It’s a testament to the growing recognition that hockey’s future is enriched by diversity.

Closer to home, the Stars are also making strides. Their “Future Stars” initiative, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas, has seen its footprint expand dramatically. From just two locations in 2023, the program has blossomed to serve nine communities in 2024.

Mexico Ice Hockey Federation

Here, the focus is on providing underserved communities with the resources and support needed to run their own youth hockey programs. From equipment to coaches, the Stars are helping to plant the seeds of hockey passion in young hearts.

Of course, the Stanley Cup Playoffs play a vital role in this community outreach. The heightened excitement surrounding the games translates into increased fan engagement, which in turn fuels fundraising efforts. The 50/50 raffle at home games becomes more than just a chance to win big – it becomes a vehicle for enriching the lives of North Texans.

With every playoff win, the Dallas Stars aren’t just etching their name in hockey history. They’re also scoring a victory for the future, for a sport that embraces all, and for the children who will one day take to the ice, their dreams as bright as the Stanley Cup itself.

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