It was the morning of April 8th, 2010. It wasn’t a particularly special day for me. I had had classes at Texas Tech at 9 AM that morning. I got up, got on Facebook while was eating breakfast and noticed that that night was the last home game for the Stars for the 09-10 season. I got out of class and was walking back to my apartment. It was about 11:00 AM. I hadn’t been following the Stars much that season, so it took a while for it to hit me… that night could potentially be Modano’s last home game in Dallas. As I was walking, it became more and more apparently to me how important this was.
I texted my friend who lived in a few hours away in Midland to see if he wanted to go. He was down, so I called the box office to see if any tickets were still available. Luckily, since it was fan appreciation night, I was able to get a pair for about $18 each. I grabbed my Modano jersey and hopped in my car. I drove two hours to Midland to pick my buddy up, then we drove the 5 hours to Dallas. I hadn’t been to a Stars game in probably 5 years since my dad moved from Dallas to Denver. I also had never driven in a big city. Luckily, we made it to the game without getting lost (thank goodness for GPS).
We found our seats in the second row from the top on the offensive end. The Stars came out to practice. It was then that I saw all the fans signs on the glass and I realized that this could be Lehtinen and Turco’s last games in a Stars jersey as well. The first period came and went, but I knew eventually something big would happen. That moment came in the second period, as Modano thanked the fans during a commercial break right before a Duck powerplay. The fans got louder and louder. I think the vast majority of fans looked exactly how Modano did…tears streaming. Seconds later, the Ducks scored on the powerplay, and I had a few choice words for them. Third period came and we were down by a goal. The story book turned its next page as Modano redirected a puck in to tie up the game. OT came and went. Onto the shootout. Turco was perfect, Lehtinen scored, and Modano scored one of the most beautiful shootout attempts I had seen. The crowd went absolutely nuts, and wasn’t quiet until Modano skated off the ice for the final time about 15 minutes later.
When we walked out, it was a bit bittersweet. Every woman’s make up was smeared and every mans eyes were red. We all had just witnessed one of the greatest moments in Stars history, a story book ending that 99% of players don’t get for their last game…but that was exactly it, it was his last game as a Dallas Stars.
I haven’t worn my Modano jersey since. In fact, I consider that game Mike Modano’s last hockey game in Dallas. To me, he retired after the last Stars game in Minnesota a few nights later.