By Kris Smith
Bakala joined the Stars with just one season of professional ice hockey under his belt after playing in the Central Hockey League with Tulsa Oilers and the Bentley Generals of the Chinook Hockey League in the 2012-2013 campaign.
However, the graduate of Bemidji State University was unbelievable for the Stars in his 64 appearances and the then 26-year-old gave the team a chance to win every night.
Dan started off by discussing what he has been doing since leaving Dundee and he began: “I have just continued playing and trying to enjoy it as much as I can.
“Since leaving Dundee, I have been playing in Sweden for three seasons with Mora, Oskarshamn and Frölunda, then in Germany with Düsseldorfer EG.
“After my year in Germany, I joined an Austrian side called Villacher and then last season, I went back to Mora before moving back to North America to play with Indy Fuel in the East Coast Hockey League.”
The Canadian shot-stopper also has lots of great memories from his time in Dundee and Bakala said: “It was just the team we had, we were all very close and had a lot of fun that year.
“We had lots of success under Hutchy (Jeff Hutchins) and Doug Christiansen and we exceed expectations.
“The Ward family were also great and they worked very hard to help us out in any way and made us feel part of the family.
“Lastly, the fans were absolutely awesome and the best I have seen out of anywhere I have played.”
Although, his favourite moment was easily winning the club’s first Elite League era trophy.
Dan explained: “I had a lot of fun with the guys and being able to be Gardiner Conference champs was special and something I will never forget.”
In 2016-2017, the native of Calgary, Alberta played three matches for Frölunda in the Champions Hockey League and helped them to win the competition for a second straight season.
“It was great, it is tough to win in hockey in general and being part of a Champions Hockey League championship team was very special”, said Bakala.
Dan’s career took off after his impressive year in the EIHL and that allowed him to become a starting netminder in some of the top European hockey leagues.
He added: “Playing in the top leagues was also good but it took a lot of work and support from many people to have the privilege to play in those leagues.
“It is tough to say if you will ever get there, but you never know what can happen and I was definitely determined to get myself there.”
Finally, Bakala shared a message for all the Stars fans back in Dundee and he said: “You guys were the greatest.
“It was a privilege to play in front of you and I will never forget the support I had and still have, the Stars fans are truly the best!”
Next up in this week’s series of ‘Look Back’ articles on the 13th Dundee Stars season you can read the ‘Where Are They Now’ interview of another former Stars player from the 2013-2014 season and that will be available tomorrow at 12pm!
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]