Plano's own Blake Coleman made history in late September when he became the first Plano resident and Texas-born Hockey player to become a Stanley Cup winner. He scored a game-winning goal in Game Six of the National Hockey League finals to seal the deal for the Tampa Bay Lightning, defeating his hometown team, the Dallas Stars.
In honor of his athletic achievement, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere christened Nov. 2 as Blake Coleman Day in Plano and honored Coleman with a "puck to the city" in a virtual ceremony Monday afternoon.
"Although the [Dallas] Stars lost, the city of Plano won in the end," LaRosiliere said. "Coleman represented the city well and we decided to honor his excellence."
Coleman has had an illustrious career in the sport of hockey. His journey began early at the age of six when he played with a traveling team and eventually for the Dallas Stars Youth Hockey Organization as well. Craig Ludwig, a former Dallas Star who won the Stanley Cup with the Stars and the Montreal Canadians coached him and helped mold him into a hockey powerhouse.
At the age of 18, Coleman joined two hockey teams in the United States Hockey League from 2009 to 2011. He ended his USHL career with a bang in 2011 while playing for the Indiana Ice. He led the league in scoring, and was named Forward of the Year and Player of the Year. Coleman was also awarded the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year, a title that many former and current NHL players have received.
His talent was obvious, and he ended up being drafted 75th in the third round of the NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils in 2011.
But Coleman turned it down and decided to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he spent four years, playing for the college hockey team, the RedHawks.
The 2014-2015 season of his senior year was the most successful for Coleman. The team ended the regular season second in the standings and went on to win the NCHC championship, their first win in the conference. Coleman made six goals and three assists, including a hat-trick in the championship game. He was named the tournament MVP and became a member of the Frozen Face All-Tournament Team.
Coleman and the RedHawks would make it to the Nationals but would come short and lose in the regional semifinal against Providence.
After college, Coleman signed a two year deal with New Jersey Devils' affiliate team Albany in 2015. But during the next season, he was able to see his first action in the NHL, playing 23 games and scoring his first goal against his hometown team, the Dallas Stars.
He spent four years with the Devils before he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.
As a Center in the NHL, he’s racked up 57 goals, 28 assists, and 95 points in five seasons. In addition, he has also played internationally during the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2018, where he won a bronze medal.
2020 was a crazy year for Coleman as he was traded and had to leave his home in New Jersey. His wife, Jordan Coleman, was also pregnant with their child. When the NHL decided to bring the season back due to COVID-19 but based it in Canada, Jordan encouraged him to go play and live out his dream.
He acknowledged her support and encouragement at the ceremony Monday.
"Her support and strength allowed me to play my best,” he said. "I was reminded that I was playing for more than myself, but my family."
Coleman also thanked all the people who had helped him get to this point, including friends, family, coaches, and teammates. His old coach Craig Ludwig was on hand to celebrate Coleman's recognition, as was his mentor Les Jackson, the longest tenured Dallas Star employee.
Coleman also signed a jersey for the city, which Plano spokesperson Steve Stoler said they planned to hang it at the Municipal Center.
"Thank you to the City of Plano for this special ceremony," Coleman said. "Thank you to all of you for taking the time to be here. This day is very special for us and it’s a day I won't forget.”