Riley Tufte was about to live his boyhood dream on Thursday night, but the Dallas Stars' coaching staff had other plans.
Hours before the puck dropped on the contest between the Stars and Minnesota Wild, Minnesota-born forward Tufte seemed poised to play his first-ever NHL game in his home state.
The 23-year-old had appeared in each of Dallas' previous two games, and during his morning media availability, he explained just how much it meant to him to play inside Xcel Energy Center.
"Yeah, it's pretty crazy the amount of people that reached saying they're coming to the game tonight," Tufte said via Saad Yousuf of The Athletic. "You might see a couple of Tufte jerseys in the stands. I know there will be a couple of high-school jerseys. I think my brother is wearing my Duluth jersey. Definitely going to have some fans tonight. My son's wearing a Dallas jersey with "Daddy" on the back and "27." Super cool moment for my family and friends and just happy to be here."
During the media session, Tufte also described a fond memory of visiting the Xcel Energy Center as a child. At 11-years-old, Tufte was diagnosed with diabetes, and while he was sitting in his hospital and dreaming about playing in the NHL while his team was playing in a travel tournament, he was gifted a package of Wild tickets and got to go watch the game from a suite.
Fast forward to game time, and Tufte was nowhere to be found on the ice. To the surprise of many, including the Tufte contingent, he was deemed a healthy scratch earlier that day.
Rick Bowness confirms that Riley Tufte was a healthy scratch tonight. Details behind that decision coming momentarily in The Athletic https://t.co/Y61dfTjeZl
— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) November 19, 2021
Tufte, so excited to play in front of his loved ones, didn't even get the chance to step foot on the ice for the game. A pretty garbage thing to do to the rookie, honestly.
If you believe in karma, however, Dallas was certainly served some in this contest as Minnesota throttled the Stars 7-2 — Tufte's number is 27, if you're into that sort of thing.
— C. (@virtuecelly) November 19, 2021
Our sources up in the Hockey Heavens inform us that head coach Rick Bowness and the rest of the Stars coaching staff "had it coming."
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