Although it is being phased out of the game as the years go on, fighting is still something hockey is known for. A well-timed bout can change the trajectory of a game, and it is a major moment for fans in the stands.
When fisticuffs are exchanged, the Dallas Stars entertainment team jumps at the chance to energize the crowd even further.
“Sports rivalries are harder to synthesize nowadays,” Senior Director of Game Presentation Jason Danby said. “I think sometimes to start a rivalry you have to throw the first punch.”
Spotlighting the passion of the players creates a bond between city and team, something that is important in a non-traditional market like Dallas. Making an adversary of the opposing team is also a deliberate tactic used by the entertainment group to build a ‘story within the story of the game’, according to Danby.
“Our entire production team enjoys creating an arsenal of jabs of the opponents,” Danby continued.
Despite its violent nature, hockey is still known as a sport of dignity and respect. The entertainment team in Dallas is careful to stay tongue-in-cheek throughout its production while still creating resentment towards the visiting skaters.
“It is all done from a good place, there’s nothing really mean-spirited about any of it. There’s a code of rules we follow, things we won’t say, places we won’t go,” Danby said.
Aside from scoring a goal, nothing gets a crowd on its feet at a hockey game quicker than a fight. Regardless of why fans rise though, the Stars’ entertainment team is prepared for the occasion with the right material at the right time.
Knowing the audience or customer is critical to any business and the Stars are well aware that fighting draws a certain amount of fans to the sport. Capitalizing on this energy, and creating that one moment that a first-time fan might remember is critical.
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