20 April, 2014


Book Review: The Lone Star Skate

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.



4 Comments

  1. Bill-DC wrote:

    Looks good. Thanks for the review. I just picked up Striking Silver by Tom and Jerry Caraccioli about the 1972 US Olympic Hockey Team. Great read so far. No one really remembers them as they were sandwiched between the 1960 and 1980 gold winning teams but these guys went through a lot at the time. Some went to Vietnam. Just an interesting read about how the team was put together. I’ve read half of it and I recommend it.

    24 March, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  2. penguin pete wrote:

    i lived in houston from 79-81, and i remember, as a 9 year old, attending my first hockey game with my dad. it memory serves me correctly (good luck with that!) it was a few days after the miracle on ice…it was the houston apollos.

    thanks for reviving that memory!

    24 March, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  3. HITTMAN wrote:

    When I was a squirt playing in Memphis of all places, we traveled for a three game weekend stand in Dallas and played the Dallas Jr. Stars. Two games were at some dinky old coliseum and the third was next to the Cowboys practice facility. The airline lost my pads and I ended up playing with a Frankenstein set, but I had my best two games wearing borrowed gear. Then I stunk it up on Sunday when I got my own stuff back. Imagine that. I think we lost all three games. Some of the guys I played with and against in the deep south ended up in pro hockey, with Jared Ross, from Huntsville, Alabama becoming captain of the Philadelphia Phantoms and scoring a goal for the Flyers in the playoffs last year. Hockey is blind to climate.

    24 March, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  4. ValleyCapsFan wrote:

    Thank God for the ice rinks, as that’s about the only thing I like about Houston. My Dad and one of my sisters live there and I curse them for making me come out there regularly. The most square miles of strip malls, chain restaurants, and car dealerships found on Earth. And then there’s the weather . . . and the waistlines . . .
    Thanks for giving me a good reason to rant about that city.

    24 March, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink