In March of 2014 we faithful saw Modano’s number hung in the rafter during a tear-filled retirement ceremony – not a dry eye in the house! There are those of us, though who believe it was only the start to what this organization owes to it’s history. On the heels of hearing Bob Sturm talking about Zubov deserving the rafters and ESPN talking about him deserving the Hall of Fame, we want you to have a way to show your support and ask the organization to make it right – let’s get Zubov and Lehtinen up in the rafters, LEHTS #MAKEITRIGHT!
Tag Archive for Mike Modano
Remember the NHL lockout? Remember how desperate hockey fans were to see any type of hockey action? I remember. In fact, it was during that time that I went to the Allen Americans opening game just to watch a game of hockey, any hockey by any team. Now this might now not seem to be such a big deal to some but considering I live in Waxahachie and had to drive to Allen on a Friday night during the rush hour was a big deal. I had bought the tickets online and before I left Waxahachie, I called the Allen Americans home office to verify that my purchase had been successful and to get directions on where to pick the tickets up at the event center. I explained to the agent that I would hate to fight the drive and traffic only to get there and not have tickets. The purchase was confirmed and I looked forward to seeing some hockey action finally.
That night at the game, during the break between the first and second period, a gentleman named Richard who was wearing an Allen American employee shirt walked up to my seat and introduced himself. He told me that I didn’t know him (he was right) and asked if I was Sylvia. I told him yes, that was my name. He went on to tell me that if I would go with him, I would be happy that I did. I was puzzled and apprehensive to say the least. He further asked me how many was in my group. There were six of us. He again told me that if we would go with him, we all would be happy and that he would escort us back to our seats when we were finished. I motioned to my group and declared that we all were going with Richard. Now there were six of us puzzled but obediently following Richard
Now having been to many hockey games, my first thought was that we were going to participate in some sort of activity during one of the period breaks (sumo wrestling, ice bowling, etc.). My first indicator that I was wrong was when he led us into an elevator and the attendant pushed the button to the top floor where the suites were located. Sensing our puzzlement, Richard explained that there was someone who wanted to meet me. Someone who wanted to meet the hockey fan that drove all the way from Waxahachie, Texas on a Friday night to watch the Americans. I thought to myself, Okay, I’m game on meeting new people. I might meet someone interesting. When the elevator door opened and we stepped out into the concourse, after only a few seconds of walking, much to our amazement, we saw Mike Modano walking toward us. Richard said, “Mike, this is Sylvia. You wanted to meet her.” Now I have met important people in my life and I have been able to conduct myself in a dignified manner but upon meeting Mike, I found myself totally star struck. For the next fifteen minutes, Mike Modano knew exactly who he was because all any of us could say was, “Your Mike Modano!” I think he gets that a lot. He was so gracious and friendly. He signed autographs, chatted, and let us take all the pictures we wanted. He even allowed an old hockey fan to give him a hug. It was that night, not the nights I watched as he scored multiple goals or skated like the wind on the ice, that I became a true to the core Mo fan for life. Sorry, Eddie, you were replaced in my heart that night.
The dark jersey flapping in the wind behind him as he skated by all who stood in his way towards the defenseless goalie. We all remember that. The kid from Livonia, Michigan drafted #1 overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. The kid that would forever change hockey in Dallas on a level nobody has, or most likely will ever do. And on March 8th, 2014, that kid steps on the ice once again to have his famous number 9 lifted to the rafters in the city that made him so famous.
Hockey in Dallas? Nobody would have ever thought of such a thing until 1993 when the Minnesota North Stars moved down south to North Texas. Norm Green brought the franchise down to Dallas amidst outrage from those he left behind in Bloomington and the “State of Hockey”. Norm was looking to win, and win fast when he moved the team to Dallas. As any fan that attended a game in the Dallas Stars’ 20th Anniversary season remembers, Green uttered the words at that first game at Reunion Arena, “And now we, the Dallas Stars; all of us and all of you, have a message to send to the NHL: Don’t Mess With Texas!” In a matter of five short years, the pieces were in place to prove that statement to be true. None more prevalent than the ever humble assistant captain, Mike Modano. Along with Stars greats such as Craig Ludwig, Derian Hatcher, Ed Belfour, Brett Hull, and Joe Nieuwendyk, the young Modano and team did what Norm envisioned from the start. They brought a hockey championship to the city of Dallas. The 1999 Stanley Cup put the Stars on the map for the next few years as they made it to the playoffs and the Stanley Cup Finals the next year, unfortunately losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games. The image of Mike Modano raising Lord Stanley, though, will forever be engrained into the minds of every Stars fan.
You ask almost any NHL fan the first player they think of when you mention the Dallas Stars, and it will most likely be Mike. You ask me what I think of when I hear the name Mike Modano, and one word comes to mind: legendary. The man who compiled both the most points (1,374) and goals (561) for an American born player can be described as nothing more than an icon to not only the city of Dallas and the Stars franchise, but for the United States and hockey as a whole. Mike Modano to me is the epitome of what a star player should be. He lets his play on the ice do the talking for him, has the awareness to know what to do in the situation he is presented, and knows exactly what to say. In searching for adjectives to describe Modano, none that I can think of can accurately define what he means to both myself and any Stars fan I come across. The iconic image that I will always remember is that black jersey flailing like a bat out of hell on his way to scoring a highlight reel goal. As I often like to say, “Once a Star, Always a Star”. Now, with his number being immortalized for as long as the Stars exist, the #9 will always be used by one man, and one man only. The great Mike Modano.
Imagine, what a young kid from Michigan could do for hockey in Texas. Make it evolve from almost an impossible shot in the dark to a full fledged reality and franchise for North Texans to be proud of. I sit here today, in 2014, looking back on all the years I can remember watching Mike Modano, oblivious to how great he was until he began breaking records. Only after watching him grab the all-time American points scoring lead did it dawn on me how special he really was. I always had a sense that he was a great player within the organization, but he was never one to flaunt accomplishments around as many people would think, which is why I believe it never hit me until that night against the San Jose Sharks on November 7, 2007, where he would capture the record on a shorthanded breakaway goal. Only then did I realize and fully understand that he, in my mind, is undoubtedly the greatest American born player ever.
Looking back on the career of Mike Modano, many will agree with me in saying that there might never be another American player like him. His loyalty, determination, toughness, and dedication separated him from virtually everyone else and made him into what people remember him as today. The icon that will be forever associated with the Stars and the city of Dallas. In a city known for men such as Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, and Tom Landry, to name a few, Modano is easily up there with them, and I believe always will be.
Mike Modano. Once a Star. Always a Star.
(Photo Source: USA Today)
They say that when Wayne Gretzky moved to LA, that he brought hockey to the SouthWest. He may have planted the seed, but it was Mike Modano and maybe a small few like him that made those seeds grow and take root in these so called “non traditional” hockey markets.He spent 21 years in the NHL, 3 times he skated for team USA in the Olympics, he has won a World Cup of hockey and also the Stanley Cup. He ended his career as the highest scoring US born hockey player of all time and one of the greatest all time players in the game.
We can rattle of stats of Modano all night, but his contributions go beyond the numbers. That’s why I’d like to list the 9 things I’ll remember about Modano, in no particular order.
- I remember a young kid with the weight of a franchise on his shoulders and he was placed in an unproven market. He became the Dallas Stars and the face of hockey in Texas and beyond.
- I remember his first season here and a head on collision with Mark Messier’s shoulder. We were afraid for his safety as they carried him off on a stretcher. Moments later I remember the horror of watching the paramedics drop Modano in his stretcher face first. You can’t keep a good man down.
- I remember the goals and points Modano sacrificed as a team player. Bob Gainey struggled to get Modano to buy into his defense first system. The result was Modano becoming one of the best two way players in the history of the game.
- I remember the brilliant look of Modano skating. The way his jersey blew in the breeze as he skated past defenders made the most skillful and difficult moves look easy.
- I remember his ability to become one with his line mates. Whether it was Ulf Dalen or Jere Lehtinen it seemed he had the natural ability to read their minds and get them the puck without even looking.
- I remember seeing Modano out stick handle 4 Ducks players one handed as he held up his hockey shorts with his other hand.
- I remember how he answered his critics who called him soft as he battled major injuries to his wrist and shoulder on his way to winning the Stanley Cup. It was his team and watching him skate the Cup will be a memory I’ll always cherish.
- I will remember how much he cared. As his career began winding down and he achieved milestone after milestone he continued to be overcome with emotion. His trail of tears ending in one of the most emotional and fitting season ending games. His and Jere’s last as a Star ended in their two shootout goals winning the game for Dallas.
- I remember his final words at his US Hockey Hall of Fame speech. I was fortunate enough to be there as he discussed his time in Dallas. He stated that at the beginning he felt it was one of the worst decisions the franchise could have made. After reflecting on his time here however he said this, “What I’m most proud of is being a part of the group that brought hockey to Texas.”
As Dallas Stars fan from the beginning and a season ticket holder for eighteen years I have had the privilege of watching him grow and achieve greatness. Thank you, for what you have done not only for the team, but what you have done for hockey in Dallas, in Texas, in the United States, and far beyond the Stars.
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.