For me, watching Mike Modano announce his retirement brings everything around full circle. I remember watching his draft back in June of 1988 when I was a 9 year old kid, immediately following there was some amazing ride that just went by all too fast, and now I just watched him announce in front of friends, family, and media, that it’s all over . He said it himself today that it all goes by in a flash.
It’s not very often that a sports hero comes along that exemplifies all those qualities everyone looks for not only on the ice but off the ice as well. We’ve all seen him blow by defenders with such grace on the ice, but off the ice a fan can stop him dead in his tracks asking for an autograph or a picture or even just a moment of his time. Trust me, my sister and I have been among those fans a few times here in Edmonton when the Stars have come to town. I’ve seen him stand among a crowd of 20 or so and sign everything anyone has put in front of him. The amount of charitable work he has done off the ice is incredible. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes for you may be disappointed, but Mike Modano is easily the exception to that.
On the ice he’s been everything you would want out of a first overall draft pick. He took a franchise and gave it a face, he gave the fans a true superstar to brag about when other fans were boasting about their Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic, he brought us all out of our seats countless times, and he gave us all he had to make the our Stars a winner. His numbers began to rise putting up back to back 93 point seasons including a 50 goal campaign in 1993-94, but a new philosophy was in store. He likely could have put up bigger offensive numbers and built on those seasons, nobody can deny the talent was there, but he followed Bob Gainey’s advice and later Ken Hitchcock’s tight system and developed a strong 2-way game. He bought in to that defensive,hard checking style of hockey that defined the Stars and never once asked for a trade or threatened to sign somewhere else where his offensive talents would be more relayed in to offensive numbers.
In fact you can look directly at his numbers as they reflect the exact style of game he played with the Stars. While the numbers are great as he sits 22nd on the all-time points list, they could be higher had the Stars played a more run-and-gun style. The telling stat is where he sits on the all-time game winning goals list if you add up the regular season and the playoffs. Only seven players in the history of the game have scored more as he sits at 8th all-time with 107. That’s more than Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, and Mark Messier. While most superstars were given the green light to score as often as possible, the Stars played a more patient game and concentrated on winning the battles everywhere else on the ice first. Modano did that with no questions asked and when it came time to win the game, he did that more often than almost anyone else who’e ever played.
You want your favorite player to amaze you, to win for you, and to give you someone you can brag about. Modano has done that for all of us. His pure class and ability to deal with the fans and media and doing all those charitable things is simply that icing on the cake that not every superstar in sports has. He’s easily given back just as much as the game has given him and then some, and we’ve been very fortunate.
How do you sum up your idol of 20 + years ? I’m not sure there’s really the perfect way to do it. Some things you just can’t put in to words. Hero ? Sure that word works, but it still does not do him justice. You really had to have been there for the ride to appreciate what Mike Modano has meant to the game and especially us Stars fans. I watched him from the very beginning to the very end and it all went by just as fast as his jersey flapping in the wind he left behind him as he blew by everyone else on the ice.
I honestly can’t believe the ride is over, I never imagined it would be. Unfortunately all great things must come to an end, but Mike has left us all with memories and a legacy we can brag about forever. What a ride it’s been.
Thank you Mike, you will be missed.
About the Author
Written by Travis Currie
Im your typical sports fan. Just a little more crazy about it. I live and die for my teams and I drive my girlfriend nuts. I consider myself the world's biggest Stars fan. Ive been a fan since I was a young kid going back to the mid 80's. Favourite Stars player of all-time is of course Mike Modano. Favourite non-Stars player of all-time is Peter Stastny. I love talking sports so please leave a reply to anything you agree or disagree with. If youd like to contact me my email is email@example.com