On Thin Ice

After giving fans the cold shoulder, can hockey win us back?

If hockey rebuilds it, they will come...back?

Like Southfork, the Stars' novelty has worn off. Gone are the glory days of Hatch, Hitch and Hull. Muted beneath Texas-OU and Cowboys 2-2, the team's opener against the Los Angeles Kings created a stir rivaled only by butterflies swapping sign language in a cotton field.

The Stars' fan base remains boisterous, just no longer big. About 50 spectators showed up for last Friday's practice. There were infants in diapers, 87-year-olds in wheelchairs, even a die-hard in his FEMA shirt.

"This is my first day off since August 28," said Lake Dallas resident Ralph Shover. "No question where I was going to spend it."

Said longtime fan Jerry Gallimore of Lewisville: "I missed it every night. It was hard to stay busy watching the History Channel and NASCAR. But now that it's back, I'm welcoming it unconditionally. It should be a better sport now. But I really didn't care, I just wanted it back."

The strongest messages will be sent by fans you never hear from. The ones that never return. For the rest of us, will we take hockey back?

Sure.

Not ever again as a soul mate. But maybe an occasional booty call.

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