Whenever I visit my parents in Houston, I’m always surprised by the number of ice rinks I see in the area. It made me curious about the popularity of hockey in the state. When I received an email from a publicist regarding a book about hockey in Texas, I was definitely interested in checking it out.
Did you know that Gordie Howe spent the most personally fulfilling years of his career in Houston? That’s according to the book, “The Lone Star Skate.” Everyone knows that Texas is the land of football, but hockey has actually had a presence there for many years.
There were many great anecdotes throughout the book. One of my favorites was an interview with former coach Rick Kozuback about the first pro hockey game in Belton, TX:
We packed the Bell County Expo Center with 6,200 people, and I don’t know if any of them had ever seen a hockey game…it was a great game, and then the second period ended. All these people get up and head into the concourse area. “At first, we thought they were just going to the concessions,” Kozuback continues. “Then we realized a lot of them were going outside. We thought, Wow, there must be a lot of smokers here in Central Texas. Then we start seeing the car lights go on. People were leaving. We ran out of the building telling people to come back, there was another period. Some of them came back, but we probably lost 1,500 to 2,000 people. It was crazy.”
Another tale was about the Dallas Stars’ early days. In order to get people in the door, one of their marketing strategies was to hand out free tickets to sorority girls and topless dancers. Once male attendees saw the quality and quantity of beautiful women in the arena, it became the place to be.
The book was a good read- lots of interesting information and photos. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the lack of captions for some of the photos. Still, that’s a minor quibble, especially compared to the quality of the book.
For more information, visit The Lone Star Skate.