Could outdoor hockey come to the state of Texas?
It's a possibility. But it's going to take some time.
The Dallas Stars have had internal discussions about playing an outdoor game under the retractable roof at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, but Stars president and CEO Jim Lites said he has not yet talked with stadium officials about whether there's a way to make it happen. He hopes to do that in the next few months.
"The league is interested and after seeing how well things went in Los Angeles, we could certainly do it here," Lites said. "But we're not talking next year. Maybe 2015-16 or 2016-17 makes more sense."
The NHL has six outdoor games this season, including one recently at Dodger Stadium. Lites didn't rule out other sites for the game, like the Cotton Bowl or Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but was interested seeing what could happen at AT&T Stadium first, adding that the building itself could be a nice draw.
The Stars are preaching patience for a variety of reasons. The first is that the team is in the lower half of the league in the standings and still in the building stages. For this event to work, they need to be skating their way toward contention and drawing bigger crowds in American Airlines Center before they move to a facility with even more seats. The second is that it takes a lot of time to figure out how it would work, which opponent is a logical one and all of the logistics.
"It takes time and we have lots of work to do before we can try to play a game like that here," Lites said.
Lites liked the idea of having the roof just as insurance against rain, which is the one element that can really impact the game.
"If it's cold or even a little warm or windy, we can deal with that," Lites said. "Rain is another story."
And he liked the idea of all the video elements in the stadium and how the game could be presented.
Lites isn't thinking about trying to set any attendance records, either, adding that he's curious how the stadium might be configured. Those are all things to be determined once discussions get going.
"It would be fun to do," Lites said. "We just have to see how things might work and go from there."
The Dallas Morning News had earlier reported that the Stars were discussing an outdoor game.