As you might have noticed, tomorrow is the last day in the NHL before a mandated three-day Christmas break. Now most of the teams will be playing tomorrow, but there is one game that is intriguing on the schedule. The Los Angeles Kings are playing the Dallas Stars on that night, but it is intriguing not because of the matchup, but because of who’s calling the game for the Kings on FOX Sports West. Because of the quadruple bypass surgery legendary “Voice of the LA Kings” Bob Miller underwent back in April, he decided to reduce his workload calling all but 17 road games this season. Those 17 road games were split by four veteran announcers with NHL experience — current MASN Orioles television play-by-play announcer Gary Thorne, TSN/NBCSN play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert, the first voice of the LA Kings, Jiggs McDonald, and former Dallas Stars play-by-play announcer Ralph Strangis. Tomorrow night will be the first time Strangis will call a game from the visiting side in Dallas, where he was “The Voice of the Stars” from 1990-2015.
Back when the team was the Minnesota North Stars, Strangis was a color analyst alongside the Voice of the North Stars, Al Shaver. When the Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, Strangis was still a color analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Fornes. In 1996, Strangis transitioned himself from analyst to play-by-play and with new color analyst Daryl “Razor” Reaugh, they were the soundtrack to the Stars franchise for the next two decades. Those two were so beloved by Stars fans, when the Stars moved to the American Airlines Center in 2002, the arena was built to keep simulcasting Stars games both on television and on radio.
Ralph and Razor practically called nearly every goal in Mike Modano’s career in Dallas, which included his epic farewell in Dallas in 2010 where he assisted on the first goal, scored the game-tying goal on a tip in the waning seconds of regulation, and scored the shootout winner against the Anaheim Ducks. They also called every moment of the Stars run to the Stanley Cup in 1999, where before the phrase “YES! YES! YES!” was used in the mainstream, that phrase was used to describe Brett Hull’s overtime winner that gave the Stars its first championship in its fifth year since relocating from the Twin Cities. The last game Strangis called as The Voice of the Stars occurred in 2015. Stars captain Jamie Benn was in the middle of the race to win the Art Ross Trophy. Against the Nashville Predators, Benn scored a hat trick to tie Islanders forward John Tavares for the league lead in points. Needing one more point to win the Ross in dramatic fashion, Jamie Benn was credited with an assist on Cody Eakin’s goal that gave him 87 points for the season, good enough to make him the first Stars player ever to win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading points-scorer.
During the 2015 offseason, Strangis decided to leave the team that he as worked for a quarter of a century to pursue other opportunities. He wrote an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News talking about how he befriended a kid on a plane. He recently tweeted a picture of himself participating in the University of North Texas’ Fall Commencement. But tomorrow night WILL be different. There’s an old saying of “Who says you can’t go home?” For Ralph Strangis, it all comes full circle. It will look surreal, and it’ll sound surreal, but I want you to close your eyes for just one second, and just imagine your favorite moment called by Ralph and Razor. You’ll truly appreciate it during the game tomorrow night.