Saturday night, longtime Dallas Stars play-by-play man and cancer survivor Dave Strader returned to the booth after a 283-day absence.
Last May, Strader visited several doctors in New York after feeling sick. Strader had his gall bladder removed, but doctors discovered that he had cholangiocarcinoma, an inoperable bile duct cancer. Strader started chemotherapy treatments and has been battling ever since.
“It’s something I’ve been working toward this whole season, and my doctors said this fits in the schedule, so here we go,” Strader said to the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika. “We have tried several different treatments, and the doctors said this could help as much as anything else I could do.”
Despite missing the entire 2016-17 season, Strader seamlessly stepped back into the booth Saturday as if nothing ever happened. Strader expertly called an Antoine Roussel hat trick and Jamie Benn’s game-winning overtime goal. After the Stars 4-3 win, the players gave an emotional tribute to Strader by raising their sticks in the air towards the play-by-play booth.
After Kari Lehtonen saved the Stars’ bacon multiple times in overtime, the team’s captain, Benn, ended the game with a beautiful wrist shot short side.
The players then gathered at center ice and raised their sticks.
“Cancer’s got nothing on you, Dave Strader,” Analyst Daryl Reaugh said to his longtime friend.
“Wow, can’t thank the boys enough for that,” Strader responded.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 19, 2017
Strader’s doctors have allowed the play-by-play man to call five home games before returning to focus more on his treatment.
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) February 15, 2017
The Fox Sports telecast game opened with a camera trained on a sign saluting Strader reading “Welcome back, Dave.”
“Welcome to Dallas Stars hockey,” the play-by-play man began. “I’m Dave Strader. Has it really been 283 days since I said that? I’ve waited [so long] to be here next to you Daryl Reaugh and, Razor, it just feels right to be here to get ready and call a game.”
“It’s so great to see you back here once again,” Reaugh responded. “Hopefully, through osmosis of you being here we’ll get a victory down there.”
The Stars did indeed win. And Strader’s valiant fight with cancer was never too far from the team’s mind.
— Dave Strader (@TheVoiceDS) February 19, 2017
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