By Kris Smith
After winning the league and playoff championships in the previous season, the Stars made a strong effort to defend their titles but the previous year’s runners-up, Coventry Blaze would go on to take away their league and playoff trophies.
There was only seven points separating Dundee and the West Midlands club in the final league standings but whilst the Stars scored a league-best, 196 goals in the 36-match season, which was 23 more than the Blaze, they also conceded 40 times more than the champions.
For the 2002-2003 season, the Tayside team had increased the size of their squad from 22 players to 25 and they retained nine players from their first campaign.
Player-coach, Tony Hand again finished as the team’s top point scorer in the BNL with 80 points and he also had the most assists with 58.
While, Swedish forward, Johan Boman contributed the most goals in league matches with 34 for the season.
Meanwhile, in the eight playoff matches that Dundee played, Italian icon, Patric Lochi or as he was better known Paddi, chipped in 17 points and lit the lamp on nine occasions, while defender, Scott Young created the most goals in the post-season, which was also nine.
Also, the team again competed in the Findus Cup and after making it to the Semi-Finals, a new team best, the offence was led by Stanley Cup winner, Ken Priestlay.
He fired in 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points and led the team in all scoring categories but Teeder Wynne tied with him for the most assists, after the Canadian also set up 16 goals.
Despite, not picking up any silverware that season, one major positive for the team was that they went unbeaten against their arch rivals, Fife Flyers.
The Stars won seven out of the eight derbies and their only slip-up was a 2-2 draw in the cup but overall they outscored the Kirkcaldy outfit, 49-21 that year.
However, the team did not have a winning record against the champions and lost four out of their ,five encounters with Coventry, although their only win against the Blaze came in the form of a 5-0 league victory at the SkyDome Arena.
Meanwhile, the biggest win that Dundee recorded in that season, was a 16-3 thrashing of fellow Scots, Edinburgh Capitals in a Findus Cup North Group match and they matched that 13-goal winning margin with a 17-4 victory away to Hull Thunder in the league.
Also, the team’s biggest shutout win was recorded against Solihull MK Kings after the Stars pounded them 7-0 at home.
There were also a few players who climbed close to the top of the club’s all-time statistics per season charts.
Firstly, Boman’s 34 goals in the league put him fourth in the table for most goals in a single season and Priestlay was just behind him after netting 31 in the same campaign.
Also, Hand took up position number four for the assists category with his 58 and he also currently holds the number one spot after he led the team to two trophies in the previous year.
The British hockey legend also has a place on the Stars all-time points leader table and sits in third place with 184 points in just 80 games and his teammate from the 2002-2003 season, Wynne is just behind him with 173 in the same amount of appearances.
The pair appear again, as Wynne is third in the all-time goals scored with 73 and assists with 100, while Hand is second in the all-time assists chart with 137.
Next-up in our ‘Look Back’ series, we catch-up with a former Star from the 2002-2003 season and see how his life has changed since leaving Dundee.
If you want to be a part of the historic 20th Dundee Stars season then you can buy your season tickets by contacting [email protected]