Mike Modano Will Appropriately Retire as Member of the Organization that Drafted Him No. 1 Overall in 1988September 23, 2011 – 8:45 am by Steven Cuce
Mike Modano has signed a one-day contract that will allow him to retire as a member of the Dallas Stars organization. Modano will be handing in his retirement papers at the age 41, playing all but one of his 21 NHL seasons with the Stars dating back to 1988 when he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick when the Stars organization was the Minnesota North Stars. The highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history finished his memorable career with 561 goals and 1,374 points. He brought a Stanley Cup to Dallas in 1999.
It feels as if Modano was undervalued in terms of his place in American sports history because hockey is by far the least popular sport out of the major four in the United States. If he had played in a big market like New York, Modano would have been a rock star. Instead his franchise was moved out of a big time hockey city and down to Texas where the term “slap-shot,” is foreign to say the least. Although Modano may have been overlooked his whole career, there’s no denying that he’ll ultimately get his due as one of, if not the best American hockey player of all-time.
Mike Modano joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Ben and Skin to discuss riding around in a car with Randy Galloway in his post-retirement endeavors for charity, wondering what life would have been like if he was drafted by a team in a major market, the organization relocating to Dallas early in his career, and if he was ever frustrated playing in a city where fans would easily recognize Cowboys players over a Hall of Famer like himself.
Are you riding around in a car right now with Randy Galloway?
“We got a caravan going down here at 67th going into downtown with about 20 Cadillac Escalades.”
I don’t think people realize it’s a charity event, but you normally walk and ride around with Randy Galloway? That’s a normal course of action for you?
“Well we were saying we can’t remember the last time when we woke up and it was still dark.”
Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you played in a bigger hockey market and not had to come to Dallas to educate folks on it?
“I think there is a debate about that. Whether or not if I was in Detroit or say Vancouver or if I was taken second and I went to Vancouver for my career how things might have changed? We never thought there was any chance of taking the team out of Minnesota and bringing them to Texas. We all thought it was comparable to taking the Cowboys out of Dallas. It would be the same feeling for those fans in Minnesota. They were devastated. They couldn’t believe it that the hockey was leaving. Hockey in Minnesota is like football in Texas. It was taken back. There was high school hockey and college hockey. Everything like that, but it was more of a challenge. We had to come down here. We had to educate people in hockey 101. We had a great thing going in Minnesota, but no one could have imagined how it unfolded down here for about the six years we were down here.”
I’m wondering was it frustrating to be down here in Texas playing hockey? You could walk into a store with Bill Bates the football player and people would recognize him way more than you. Did that frustrate you?
“Well we knew going into it it was Cowboys country. Again we just stuck to our game plan and helped promote the game a little bit. We could get as many people as we could to reunionize and I think once we got them to the game they’d be hooked and they’d love the speed and excitement of the game being there in person. It’s just a tough sport to watch on TV, but if you are there in person it is a whole different atmosphere. We figured if we had a good product that was entertaining people would come and get hooked. We certainly did. Plus we had a lot of Northerners that were transferred down here from work business wise. They moved down here and we kind of tapped into both areas.”