Despite having been based in Dallas since 1993 (and winning a Stanley Cup in 1999), the Stars have been reduced to purchasing billboards designed to illustrate how tough/cool/edgy ice hockey really is. From the Dallas Morning News’ David Moore.

It’s too early to measure the impact on the gate, but Rob Scichili, the Stars’ senior director of communications, said the initial response has been positive. Team president Jim Lites bubbled that the campaign has gone “viral” and said the club’s web site “has been getting hits from all over the place” since the billboards were installed.

Five are up now. One more goes up today and two more Saturday. Eleven will be placed around the city by early November.

Most of the billboards use clever phrases to focus on the aggressive nature of the sport. A billboard by Central Expressway and I-635 states, “One game a week? Is the N in NFL for Nancy?” The club takes a jab at major league baseball, a passion of Stars and Rangers owner Tom Hicks, at I-635 and Old Denton with a sign that reads, “Maybe baseball should stop using the word sacrifice.”

Lites said Hicks laughed louder than anyone at that billboard.

And David Stern? The NBA commissioner was made aware of the Stars’ campaign Thursday afternoon but relayed through a league spokesman that he had no comment.

Did the Stars have any reservations about referring to the NBA’s officiating/gambling scandal?

“The answer would be yes,” Lites said. “It’s edgy. But we’re really good friends with the Mavs. They’re our partners in the building. I think we thought it would be taken the right way.

“It’s not a slap at them. It’s more of a snip. I think the same goes for the Cowboys. The NFL is the big daddy.”

The most irreverent and outrageous stuff in the campaign hit the cutting room floor. Most of those had to do with dog fighting.

“We avoided taking a swipe at Michael Vick,” Lites said.

‘Tis not my place to tell the Stars’ marketing mavens how to do their job, but I suspect there are simple, direct ways of introducing the game’s nuances to a non-hockey market.