For multiple generations Ralph Strangis will be remain the voice of the Dallas Stars, and to a degree its face. He was here when the team relocated from Minnesota, and for so many Ralphie is the Stars. Along with color analyst Daryl Reaugh, these two are the Stars in DFW.
Alas, it is with sadness and shock to learn that after 25 years with the Stars’ organization that Strangis has decided to leave his microphone with the team.
On a personal note, as someone who covered the Dallas Stars on a daily basis for more than three years, Strangis was a good and decent man to be around who treated me well. He brought a constant, almost youthful energy to the job every day. And the guy knew every good place to eat in an NHL city. He also knew how to pick up the check ... much obliged, sir.
These qualities offset that fact that he remains a shameless fan of the Minnesota Vikings, which he once likened to being taped to a tree and having the neighbor’s kids kick him repeatedly in the man parts.
Strangis decided it was just time for something else.
“It has been a process for me. My life has evolved a lot over the last five years and this has been in my head for a while,” Strangis told me in a phone interview. “I have done the same job for a long time and it’s a wonderful job and no one will dispute that. I know how good I had it.”
Strangis is 54, and his daughter will be going away to college in the fall. That and the fact he has been calling games for a long time made sense that if he was going to jump, now is a good time.
“I do like different things. I like writing. I love theater and film,” he said. “My daughter was able to work with us for the last two years and I was able to see her every day. You wonder when it’s time for the end. It’s hard to pick the right time. There is no great time to pick.”
I hate writing these things because it feels like a eulogy for the wrong reason. But to a Stars fan, losing Ralph will not be easy.
Strangis has called every single highlight of the Stars’ since they moved to Texas, from Mike Modano’s milestones to the Stars’ Game 6 victory in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals in Buffalo. Let me see if I can do this ... “Yes! Yes! The Stars win the Stanley Cup!” was his call after Brett Hull poked in the game-winner.
When Stars captain Jamie Benn won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading point scorer in the regular-season finale this season, Ralphie figured that was a good high moment to leave.
“I am young enough and I think I have enough left in the tank to see what else is out there,” he said. “Maybe it’s hockey. Maybe it’s in broadcasting. Maybe it’s something else. I really don’t know.”
For the record - I asked Strangis if this decision is related to what was a difficult contract negotiation with the franchise last summer. He said that had nothing to do with it, and that the organization has been completely supportive since he made this decision.
For the Stars, this is a tough loss. The combination of Ralph and Razor are this team to this community. As talented as the many broadcasting pairs are in this town, the relationship between Ralph and Razor to the viewers and listeners set them apart. Another voice will replace Ralph, but the bond and the relationship that he had with the Stars’ fan base will not be replaced immediately.
“I don’t take it for granted. I promise you I don’t,” he said. “I know this is an arbitrary business and I know I may not get another shot, but I am going to take my cuts. I am looking for a new challenge, but I know I had a great ride here.”
So did we.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760