The Dallas Stars retired the jersey of Jere Lehtinen on Friday, November 24th when they hosted the Calgary Flames. Jere’s number 26 was the fifth jersey to be retired by the franchise and the third retired since the team moved to Texas. Lehtinen played his entire fourteen year career with the Stars and was one of the game’s great two-way forwards. He was a three-time Selke Trophy winner, a four-time Olympic medalist and a Stanley Cup Champion.
While Lehtinen helped introduce the city of Dallas to the game of hockey, he also had a profound impact on youth hockey in Coppell and the DFW area. Jere and his family lived in Coppell during his playing days. His son was learning to skate and play hockey at the time, and Jere often volunteered as an assistant coach for mini mite, mite and squirt teams at the Dr. Pepper Stars Center in Farmers Branch and Valley Ranch. Lehtinen, never one to seek the spotlight, quietly helped teach the kids the fundamentals and to love to play the game of hockey. Many of the boys took to wearing Jere’s signature yellow skate laces during their practices and games.
Lehtinen’s impact on youth hockey continues to this day with former mini mite, mite and squirt hockey players scattered throughout various Tier 1 and Tier 2 travel, house league and high school teams in the area, including Coppell High School Hockey players Trevor Moore, Vineet Madur, Erik Masengill, Austin Thurman, Sam Norris, Donovan Burdette, Jacob Smith, and Gibson Duhe. Congratulations to Jere on the retirement of your number 26 with the Dallas Stars, and thanks for all you did to encourage and support the development of youth hockey in Coppell and DFW.