Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
The Dallas Stars returned to the ice on Saturday night and so did their fans, selling out the American Airlines Center.
After a more than 3-month lockout, hockey returned to the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday.
The Dallas Stars took on the Phoenix Coyotes as the National Hockey League started an abbreviated season.
Fans coming to the game were excited to see hockey return. Winning fans back after a work stoppage can be difficult. Some fans were worried there wouldn't be a season, but were glad players and owners were able to work things out earlier this month.
"We were going nuts without hockey," said Ryan Stordahl. "We have the Mavericks, but it's great to have the Stars back."
Fans sold out the American Airlines Center to welcome the team back to the ice. Those fans were greeted by a pre-game fanfest and will be for every home game at AT&T Plaza just outside the AAC.
Children adults played games, won prizes and enjoyed music during the fanfest, as they were happy to see their team and their fellow season ticket holders.
"I'm happy to see my hockey family," said Matt Day. "We've come to be close, all the other season ticket holders, people in the organization. I'm just really glad to get to see them and to see my favorite game ever."
It's a game Day thought he might not see this year, but most fans were confident that lockout would be resolved.
"I knew there would be eventually, but who knows with those guys," said Dan Crelin.
"We had faith, absolutely," said Charlie Gantenbein. "National Hockey League, no way it go without a season."
"We just didn't know what we were going to do with the winter," said Kelly Austin.
"Knew hockey would be back, it's only a matter of time," said Stordahl.
And these fans know their fellow Stars fans would return as well.
"I love it, I tell you Dallas is a very good hockey town," Austin, a Minnesota native, said.
But they all have high hopes for the season, even a shortened one.
"We'll make the playoffs," Gantenbein said.