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Synonymous With American Hockey Historical past

Whenever you consider American hockey, the identify Mike Modano is virtually a synonym. The Michigan native went on to gather data and accolades all through his profession which have but to be matched by an American participant. For almost 20 years within the NHL, he was a star – in additional methods than one.

As a member of the NHL’s 100 Biggest Gamers of all time, there’s no query that Modano left his mark on the league. However greater than that, he left an impression on a whole nation. Known as “Superman on Ice,” Modano left these watching him in awe and led a era of American expertise.

Quicker than a rushing bullet. Extra highly effective than a locomotive. Capable of leap small buildings in a single sure. That prose would have been becoming to explain the bodily capabilities Modano boasted on the ice.


He mixed velocity with power and ability. He performed with physicality, however grace. Was he truly Superman?

“I don’t know if Mike had his jersey specifically lower,” stated former NHL ahead Invoice Guerin, “But it surely at all times seemed like he had a cape on.”

Modano left a legacy within the league, however he continues that legacy off the ice in his philanthropic endeavours. A sterling instance of a real professional, Modano promoted hockey, excelled within the recreation, and used his success to assist others. If there was ever an instance of a real professional – it’s Mike Modano.

Awards & Accolades

Over the course of his 21-year profession, Modano performed for the Minnesota North Stars and helped the crew transfer to and succeed because the Dallas Stars earlier than spending his closing season with the Detroit Purple Wings. He rose up quite a few leaderboards and was acknowledged for his efforts alongside the way in which:

  • First in targets scored by an American-born participant (561)
  • First in factors by an American-born participant (1,374)
  • First in profession playoff factors by an American-born participant (146)
  • First in video games performed by an American-born ahead (1,499)
  • First in North Stars/Stars historical past for targets, common season and playoffs (557, 58)
  • First in North Stars/Stars historical past for assists, common season and playoffs (802, 87)
  • First in North Stars/Stars historical past for factors, common season and playoffs (1,359, 145)
  • First in North Stars/Stars historical past for video games performed, common season and playoffs (1,459, 174)
  • NHL All-Rookie Crew (1990)
  • NHL Second All-Star Crew (2000)
  • Seven-time NHL All-Star Sport participant (1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009)
  • Stanley Cup Champion (1999)
  • USA Hockey Bob Johnson Award (2002)
  • USA Hockey Corridor of Fame Inductee (2013)
  • First-ballot inductee within the Hockey Corridor of Fame (2014)
  • IIHF Corridor of Fame inductee (2019)
Mike Modano Minnesota Wild
Mike Modano (Picture by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI by way of Getty Photos)

Whereas there aren’t any particular person awards on that checklist, it’s a nonetheless testomony to what Modano was in a position to accomplish. He re-wrote the American historical past books whereas serving to to form a re-located franchise. For his exceptional profession, he had his jersey retired by the Stars in 2014, and he was named one of many NHL’s 100 Biggest Gamers in 2017.

Mike Modano – Junior Days

Earlier than he was an American star, Modano needed to work his method up within the hockey world. After his father put him into hockey at seven-years-old to attempt to assist ease his mischievous behaviour, he rapidly obtained a deal with on the sport and excelled.

He performed within the 1982 Quebec Worldwide PeeWee event, performed Main Midget at age fourteen, taking part in towards gamers two to 3 years older than him (which is a big distinction at that age), and his early success prompted his household to maneuver to Westland so he may play for the Detroit Little Caesar’s AAA Hockey Membership. In 1984-85, he scored 50 targets and 50 assists en path to successful the USA Hockey Nationwide Championship. Individuals have been taking discover.

In 1986, Modano was invited by Rick Wilson, head coach of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, to affix the crew. He accepted, and in his first recreation collected a hat trick.

“Once I obtained there, I felt like I had one thing to show,” Modano stated. “That was the motivation to do effectively. I used to be in Canada the place individuals love their sport. They anticipate nothing lower than your finest.”

The subsequent season, he was named to the WHL All-Star Crew. He completed his Raiders’ profession with 118 targets, 176 assists, and 294 factors in 176 video games.

Modano and Quantity 9

The quantity 9 has change into a logo of greatness within the NHL, and Modano is part of that legacy as one in all ten quantity nines to be retired. Rising up, he selected this quantity attributable to two of his hero’s.

Modano’ and the quantity 9 (picture by skaines/flickr)

The primary was Boston Purple Sox Ted Williams, the idol of his father, and the second was his idol, none apart from the unique 9, and one of the best to ever put on the quantity, Gordie Howe. What’s fascinating about this, is how that quantity worn by Modano would then encourage one other era to put on it.

Draft Day 1988

On June 11, 1988, simply earlier than Modano’s 18th birthday, his identify was the primary one known as within the NHL Entry Draft. The Minnesota North Stars chosen him, making him simply the second American to ever be taken in that spot, after Brian Lawton in 1983. After being chosen, Modano performed yet one more season within the WHL earlier than making the bounce to the large leagues.

His choice was at all times in comparison with others drafted within the top-10, particularly the quantity two choice of Trevor Linden, but additionally together with Jeremy Roenick (eighth general), Rod Brind’Amore (ninth general), and Teemu Selanne (tenth general). To not point out a trio of future stars drafted within the fourth spherical in Mark Recchi, Tony Amonte, and Rob Blake. There have been some very proficient gamers taken in 1988.

Modano and the Minnesota North Stars

Modano Impresses Early, Will get Snubbed for Calder?

Modano signed his first NHL contract in December of 1988, making his NHL debut within the 1989 NHL Playoffs the place he performed two video games, with out gathering a degree. In 1989-90, he performed his first full NHL season, immediately changing into a star.

Associated: The Finest #9’s in NHL Historical past

In his rookie marketing campaign, Modano collected 29 targets, 46 assists, and 75 factors. The North Stars made the playoffs, dropping spherical one in seven video games to the Chicago Blackhawks. Modano obtained his first two playoff factors, a aim and an help within the sequence.

When it got here time for the NHL Awards, it was between Modano and 31-year-old Calgary Flames right-winger Sergei Makarov. Makarov had simply come over from Russia after taking part in professionally for the previous 12 years abroad. He put up 86 factors in his first NHL marketing campaign and was awarded the Rookie of the Yr honour.

Dallas Stars Mike Modano North Stars
Mike Modano (AP Picture/Andy King, File)

After all, evaluating a 12-year skilled veteran to a 20-year-old true rookie isn’t precisely a degree taking part in subject, so this choice prompted the NHL to evaluation and replace it’s Calder Trophy eligibility, capping the age at 26 years previous.

Early Points in Minnesota

In that rookie season, and particularly in his sophomore marketing campaign, there have been some questions surrounding Modano and his effort ranges. His second season noticed him end with 28 targets, 36 assists, and 64 factors in 79 video games, a drop from his earlier season. The crew as a complete performed effectively although, reaching the Stanley Cup Closing, though they misplaced to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Modano had eight targets, 12 assists, and 20 factors by the 23 video games in playoffs.

Modano believed that him not reaching his earlier 12 months totals was as a result of defensive system run by head coach Bob Gainey. In reality, he reportedly confronted the coach about this.

In 1992, Modano signed a four-year contract extension because the North Stars ready for his or her closing season in Minnesota. Modano reacted effectively to his new deal, which made him the highest-paid participant on the crew at $2 million per season and got here out with a 93-point marketing campaign (33 targets, 60 assists). He earned his first All-Star Sport look, making the season an ideal goodbye to Minnesota.

Minnesota Relocates to Dallas

For the 1993-94 season, the North Stars moved south to Dallas, Texas and easily grew to become the Stars. On this reshaping of the group, Modano subsided to Gainey’s philosophy and revamped his recreation to suit the system. He repeated his earlier season level complete of 93 factors, which was a profession excessive, and scored 50 targets – additionally a profession excessive.

Essentially the most stunning imaginative and prescient I’ve seen in sports activities is Mike Modano winding up behind the web. He had these prolonged lengthy strides that allowed him to blow by everyone. His jersey can be billowing behind him. I watched that in awe.”

Jeremy Roenick, former NHL participant

If he wasn’t in Minnesota, Modano grew to become the face of the franchise and a beloved determine on the crew by followers. He even bought essentially the most jerseys on the crew. In that first season in Dallas, he was named an alternate captain and would preserve a letter on his jersey for his whole 16-year profession in Dallas.

Within the two years to comply with, Modano began having harm troubles. A concussion, a knee harm and ruptured ankle tendons noticed his goal-scoring sluggish, however his defensive recreation remained improved from his Minnesota days. In 1996, the Stars missed the playoffs for the primary time of their brief historical past, and Gainey stepped down as head coach (however remained common supervisor).

Associated: Dallas Stars’ 50-Aim Scorers

Ken Hitchcock was introduced in because the alternative and whereas he nonetheless enforced a defensive system, he requested Modano to give attention to offense. Whereas he wouldn’t beat his 50-goal, 93-point totals once more, he grew to become among the best general gamers within the league, usually incomes votes yearly for the Selke Trophy as one of the best defensive ahead within the league (4 instances ending within the top-10), the Woman Byng Memorial Trophy as essentially the most gentlemanly participant within the league (3 times ending within the top-10) and the Hart Trophy as league MVP (3 times ending within the top-10).

Mike Modano Dallas Stars
Mike Modano, Dallas Stars, 2004 (Picture by Bruce Bennett Studios by way of Getty Photos Studios/Getty Photos)

With Gainey’s defensive steering after which Hitchcock’s loosening of the leash, Modano was a power each evening and he was rewarded. His ice time went from 15-18 minutes an evening to averaging 25 minutes an evening. He was a machine.

With the addition of Hitchcock, plus the stockpiling of gamers resembling Joe Nieuwendyk and Sergei Zubov, after which Ed Belfour and Brett Hull in 1998, Modano led the Stars again into the playoffs in 1997, after which to back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In that second season although, the highest regular-season crew was just the start, organising probably the most memorable Modano tales of his profession.

Modano Pushes By way of for the Stanley Cup

Within the 1999 NHL Playoffs, Modano was on a mission. The Stars had simply gained the Presidents’ Trophy and have been trying to proceed their success within the playoffs. The Stars swept the Edmonton Oilers and defeated the St. Louis Blues in a 4-2 sequence earlier than going through off towards a stacked Colorado Avalanche crew.

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However the Stars prevailed, successful a hard-fought, seven-game battle towards the Avs, heading to the Stanley Cup Closing to face off towards the Buffalo Sabres.

In Sport 2, Modano truly broke his wrist. However reasonably than sitting out crucial video games of his profession, he pushed ahead, taking part in all six video games within the Closing. He ended up main the Stars and ending second within the NHL for playoff scoring with 23 factors in 23 video games.

“He’s a jack of all trades and grasp of all of them. He can shoot, go, skate, play protection, kill penalties and run an influence play. And he’s one of many high three bodily match individuals I ever performed with.”

Former Stars’ teammate Brett Hull

He assisted on all 5 of the ultimate targets the Stars scored, together with Hull’s triple-overtime aim in Sport 6 to clinch the Stanley Cup. Upon successful hockey’s Holy Grail, he collapsed into tears.

“I bear in mind hugging him on the ice, and you may really feel his emotion,” former Stars’ Director of Participant Personnel Craig Button stated. “You could possibly really feel the discharge — it was like ‘I gained, and now nobody can ever say I didn’t win.’”

Regardless of his excellent efficiency by the playoffs en path to the Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy went to Nieuwendyk who led the playoffs with 11 targets. Modano’s damaged wrist has been overshadowed since nevertheless, attributable to an issue surrounding Hull and the location of his skate in that closing recreation.

Modano Begins Re-Writing Historical past

Modano and the Stars returned to the Closing in 1999-00, with Modano scoring a vital Sport 5 time beyond regulation aim to power a Sport 6, the place the crew finally fell to the New Jersey Devils. In these back-to-back Stanley Cup Closing visits, Modano collected 81 factors in every common season, and 23 factors in every playoff run.

The Stars legend spent the subsequent decade in Dallas, serving because the captain in 2003-04 and 2005-06, though the crew by no means lifted the Cup with him once more. As an alternative, Modano started re-writing the Stars and American-born file books.

NHL Hall of Fame class of 2014 inductee Mike Modano
NHL Corridor of Fame class of 2014 inductee Mike Modano (AP Picture/Brandon Wade, File)

On March 17, 2007, simply days after changing into the thirty ninth participant to ever hit 500 targets (and 14th to do it with a single crew), the Stars have been up towards the Nashville Predators. Modano scored two targets, his 502nd and 503rd, in a 3-2 loss. These two targets tied after which handed Joe Mullen for essentially the most targets scored by an American-born participant.

Early the subsequent season, Modano earned one other American honour, once more by scoring two targets. On Nov. 7, 2017, he scored two targets within the first 5 minutes of the sport, passing Phil Housley for essentially the most factors from an American in NHL historical past. The second, record-clinching aim was essentially the most spectacular, coming shorthanded on a breakaway. The milestone even earned Modano a name from former President George W. Bush. In line with Modano, the American aim and factors data are essentially the most significant achievements in his profession.

In that season, and for the remainder of his time with the Stars, his quantity began to dwindle till the tip of his contract in 2010. After 20 years with the identical crew, his time with the Stars was up. In his closing recreation, which just-so-happened to be held towards the Minnesota Wild, he acquired a video tribute, a standing ovation, was the primary star of the sport, and to cap it off he did a lap across the rink – in a Minnesota North Stars jersey.

Modano Heads to Detroit

Mike Modano Red Wings
Mike Modano with the Purple Wings (Icon SMI)

Not simply able to retire, Modano signed a one-year take care of the Detroit Purple Wings in his house state. With quantity 9 already retired for the participant who initially impressed him to put on it, he opted for quantity 90 as a substitute.

Regardless of scoring in his first recreation, he didn’t have an ideal with the Purple Wings, gathering simply 4 targets, 11 assists and 15 factors in 40 video games. He then performed simply two playoff video games, and the Purple Wings misplaced within the second spherical, regardless of bolstering a lineup with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, and a top-of-his-game Jimmy Howard.

Modano’s Retirement

On Sept. 23, 2011, Modano determined to hold his skates up, after one of the best profession from an American participant ever. The Stars signed him to a one-day contract in order that he may retire as a member of the franchise he helped construct. Upon his retirement, he was the final lively participant to have performed within the Eighties and the final to have performed for the Minnesota North Stars.

He spent three seasons with the Stars’ group as a Particular Advisor, and in 2019 joined the Minnesota Wild’s entrance workplace in the identical function. In 2014, the Stars retired his quantity 9.

Modano’s Worldwide Play

Modano was an everyday on Crew USA all through his hockey profession. Within the IIHF Underneath-20 World Junior Championships in each 1988 and 1989, he collected 5 after which 15 factors, main the event in assists in that second 12 months.

He went on to play in three World Championships, two World Cup of Hockey tournaments, the 1991 Canada Cup, and three Olympic Video games. He has an Olympic silver medal from the Video games in Salt Lake Metropolis and a gold medal from the 1996 World Cup.

Associated: The ten Biggest American Hockey Gamers Ever

Apart from the Stanley Cup run, the silver medal run in Salt Lake Metropolis is arguably a few of the finest hockey Modano ever performed.

“In the identical recreation, he saucered a go 90 toes, if no more, to Brett Hull. He knew precisely what he was doing. Then he got here down the ice, going as quick as anybody can bodily skate, and threw a 2 ½- foot excellent saucer go to Hullie once more. He deadened that go completely. I’ve by no means seen different guys who may have carried out that.”

Jim Johannson, USA Hockey common supervisor

For his efforts with the worldwide groups, he was inducted into america Hockey Corridor of Fame in 2013 and the IIHF Hockey Corridor of Fame in 2019.

Philanthropic Work

Modano began the Mike Modano Basis, which supplies sources and schooling for at-risk, significantly abused, deserted and uncared for kids within the Dallas space. In 2002, he opened the Mike Modano Toddler and Toddler Cottage, which supplies a protected haven for at-risk kids and youth.

To at the present time, he supplies help by funding and sources to organizations devoted to kids and households which have suffered from baby abuse.

Modano: An American Star

There’s no query that Modano is one of many biggest American’s to ever play the sport. He broke each main American file he may whereas serving to to construct a company in Dallas, Texas. In doing that, he introduced a Cup to the franchise and helped ignite the Southern States into hockey followers.

The time period “Superman on Ice” is an correct description for the Corridor of Fame participant. Velocity, power, and style. Because it says in his 100 Biggest NHL Gamers biography, “All that Modano was lacking for superhero standing was an enormous “S” on his chest.”

On high of his play on the ice, Modano gave again to the group and continues to take action by the Mike Modano Basis. He’ll stay a hockey legend all through the historical past of the sport.

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