With the retirement of Mike Modano, so ends an amazing era in the Texas sports scene. Most people in the area had no idea what to expect when they heard the NHL was coming to town and it seemed absurd for a team to try to make a go of it in Dallas Texas of all places. Yet hockey has done nothing but grow in Cowboy Country and 18 years after the move, there’s even kids being drafted into the NHL from the area. Coincidence ? Likey not.
It’s pretty obvious that having Mike Modano as the face all these years has done wonders for the sport and the franchise. After all, as Ralph Strangis says, “There’s good players, there’s great players, and then there’s rock stars. Mike Modano is a rock star.” I live just north of Edmonton and I was a Stars fan at the time of the move, even before Modano came along, so I was already well in the know on what type of player he was and how exciting it was to see him pick up the puck and hit full speed with that jersey flapping behind him like no other, but the people in Dallas must have been amazed at first glimpse of the budding superstar. He stood out from everybody else on the ice and even if you hadn’t heard his name before watching the Stars, you knew right away this guy was special. Without a doubt the word spread throughout the heart of Texas that the Stars were worth heading to the rink for, especially to see number 9. Hockey was a hit and with all due credit given to everyone who’s worn the Star over the last 18 years, you have to think that it wouldn’t be quite as popular without Mike Modano.
So with that, some comments from a few Stars fans on how he made an impression on them as a player and as a person. Starting with myself of course.
I’ve been a Stars fan since I was a kid in the mid 80′s growing up just north of Edmonton. That’s right, while Gretzky and Messier were hoisting Stanley Cups just miles from my house, I was cheering for the Minnesota North Stars. I remember hearing about Mike Modano a little before the draft in 1988 and realized that we were on a collision course as the North Stars were destined for the #1 pick that year. I watched his draft that Saturday morning on June 11 of 1988 and I, as well as my youngest sister, eventually became a fan. I had favorites over the years like Dino Ciccarelli, Neal Broten, and Dave Gagner, but Mike Modano set a whole new standard. A standard that’s not likely to ever be matched. He’s been that Gretzky and that Messier to me, and he’s someone us Stars fans can brag about with confidence when talking about the greatest players to ever play the game. His skill level on the ice was nearly untouchable and so is his class off of it. His career transcends nearly my entire youth, my teens, and my 20s. He’s the definition of idol and it’s been an amazing 23 year ride. Impossible to put in to words. – TRAVIS CURRIE – AB
My first memory of Mike Modano…it was the 1st season the Stars were in Dallas. I had less than zero interest in hockey, I always thought it was a sport where guys just beat each other up for fun so I didn’t see why I needed to watch that. I purposely won tickets on the radio, thinking I’d get the spouse out of the house for an evening so I could sit around and read a book. Instead, I was dragged almost literally kicking and screaming to Reunion Arena. Our seats were upper deck but at Reunion, that was fine. Perfect sight lines all the way around. Having grown up watching soccer, there were immediate similarities to me as to positioning and playing. I started to get into the action but the one thing that made me stand up quick was this guy wearing number 9. He just flew down the ice, passing everyone or shrugging past them, sweater flapping behind him, and went straight to the net and scored. The crowd was screaming and I realized I was doing the same. It wasn’t until after the game I got a chance to look at the program and see who that #9 was. Mike Modano. And I realized I’d seen his face on billboards, heard him on the radio and seen him on TV, but I hadn’t really paid much attention. Well, the game, the atmosphere, the players – especially Mo, made me go back over and over. It is definitely an addiction he started and I’m forever thankful. - KARIN CANNON - TX
What is to be said about Mike Modano that hasn’t already been said? I came to the sport through the Miracle on Ice in 1980. My first live hockey game was the Cup Finals of the North Stars versus the Islanders. Neal Broten was my favorite player. And then came Mike Modano. He had flowing hair, a sweater that rippled in his wake, and a shy smile that could light up a room when he turned it on you. I first met Mike his rookie season at a hotel bar that was right next to the old Met Center in Minneapolis. He was seated with some of his team mates, and my friends and I sent drinks over for the entire table. Mike was the only one to come over and thank us. Of course, when he did, he said thanks but no thanks because he was underage. I may or may not have made some crack that it wouldn’t be his first time having a drink. Made the boy blush. From that moment on, Mike Modano was my favorite hockey player. I was thrilled when the team followed me to Texas. Back then it was difficult living in Texas and trying to keep up with hockey up north. We didn’t have Center Ice or really internet to do so. What I will miss the most about Modano, is watching his little stutter step right before he put on the afterburners to head mach 7 down the ice for a scoring chance. All of our sports heroes eventually have to leave us, and I’m old enough that it’s happened to me numerous times, but the memories of what Mike did for USA hockey, and hockey in the Lone Star State will never fade away. Even though I’ve pledged my allegiance to another US hockey boy now, Mike will always remain my number one. - SUSAN OSTERMANN- TX
Modano, Modano, Modano. He represented hockey to me. I started watching when the North Stars when i was probably 8 while I was in North Dakota so that was 1977. I loved them, they were my hockey team. Then when I was 19, in 1988, Modano was drafted. I watched him and soon owned 2 different Modano jerseys. I was in total hockey man crush mode. He was the absolute best and was an inspiration. I moved to Texas in 1990 to study at UNT and to be closer to my mother who had divorced my father 7 years earlier. Sad to leave my hockey team and Modano, I packed up my jerseys and headed south. This pretty much stemmed any hockey playing I would be doing, and I missed the sport. 3 years later my dreams came true, the North Stars came to Texas. I attended the first game in Reunion, having no idea what to expect seeing as I had heard nothing about the team for 3 years. Sitting in my seat with my #9 Jersey, a beer and some peanuts, there he was. Mike Modano: quick, eloquent, and still possessing that amazing offensive talent that left jaws hanging. I fell in love all over again. Still just a classy, nice, genuine kid who had a knack for the game. There was never a doubt in my mind who the best player for the Stars was. It was always fun and exciting to watch Mike play, both in person and on television up until his final home game in the NHL on April 8th 2010 against the Anaheim Ducks. I was blessed with the ability to watch said game. It is my 2nd fondest hockey memory, and it certainly comes close to June 19th 1999 when we won the Cup and my son turned 2. Even in that last game, he radiated everything that i loved about hockey: Respect, Class, Skill, Endurance, and Hope. Tears welled up in my eyes as he scored the game tying goal, and the shootout game winner. Watching Modano over the years has been an anchor, and I feel as if I’ve grown up with him. He’s helped me through many rough times, by just being the anchor I could depend on. No matter what sh*t I was going through, I could always depend on every other night Modano getting out there and playing his heart out. Modano, in my opinion, is the greatest player to ever play the sport of Ice Hockey. - DAVID – TX
Mike Modano, to me, was the face of the Dallas Stars and one of the best players to ever wear a Dallas Stars uniform. He will always be in my mind the greatest Stars player to wear #9. I am hoping he finds a job in the Dallas Stars office. - MELISSA GRISSOM – TX
He was a nice guy in school, alway’s smiling…alway’s. He was a damned good quaterback in his freshman year(his only year at Franklin high) he used to drive this big white Bronco that had a Northstars symbol on the hood the summer of 89. Living in Detroit, he made me a NorthStars fan. His speed on the ice when we were young was an amazing thing, like something out of this world. …..really is about all I got. He’s an Icon and a symbol of what a person should be and I’m proud of him and consider myself lucky to have known him. - ANONYMOUS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org