* Toby Petersen (19) carries the puck up the ice for the Iowa Stars earlier this season.*
Depending on a Stars fan's location, they may or may not know Toby Petersen. Iowa Stars fans know the five foot-ten inch, one hundred and ninety seven pound, twenty-nine-year old forward as number nineteen and captain in Des Moines. In Dallas, he is number seventeen and almost unheard of.
Peterson is a twenty-nine-year old veteran of the NHL, playing in Pittsburgh and Edmonton. With the Stars he has shared time between Dallas and Des Moines. His stats with Dallas are almost non-existent with only eight regular season games for a total of 3 points and 10 playoffs games for no points, thus far.
Most readers at this point are probably wondering why I would even concern my time with such a player for the Stars. I could spend this article talking about all the fantastic players who have helped propel the Stars to the Western Conference Finals. The reason, dear reader, is because it is men like Toby Petersen who help make hockey the greatest sport on earth.
Considering Petersen’s age, his playing days in the NHL are numbered. To some he is considered a terminal AHL player destined to only be known in the minors. His dream of an NHL career of glory and stardom has stalled. Or has it? In last night's multi-overtime game, I saw number seventeen in black quite often. Considering Dave Tippet, head coach of the Stars, needed fresh legs, and did Toby was beyond energized. He struck me: a man living for the next goal, for having spirit I had not seen in a long time.
He played like every second counted. Even though he knew he would probably not be the hero, he had a job to do. He made good plays and did all he could in the end to help the Stars win. Sometimes it’s not about the points and goals but just being part of something. Petersen is playing like a man with no future. He knows this may be his only chance to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup, and he’s doing all he can to make it happen, if only in the small ways.
With so many of Petersen’s teammates from Iowa now finding their way into the Stars lineup (many probably for good), Petersen has been both a wealth of advice and a leader by example.
“He’s been an excellent player,” Tippet said “A lot of these guys have cut their teeth in pro hockey with him being the guy in the dressing room to go to. He does all the things right. A very class guy, very well-spoken. He’s a good guy for our young kids to be around.”
Petersen knows his road in Dallas may be short, but he is just taking it one shift at a time.
“I’ve spent so much time in the minors over the years… and you start to wonder, ‘are you ever going to get back up?’” Petersen said “But to get here at the end of the year and right in time for a big playoff push is a great experience. You never known when this chance is going to come back around again, so you have to make the most of every chance you get.”
Toby Petersen and the rest of the Dallas Stars take on the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals on Thursday, May 8th in Detroit.
** Quotes courtesy of the Dallas Morning News dated May 5, 2008 and Image courtesy of The Iowa Stars website.