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Mike Modano
Mike modano wings.jpg
Born June 7, 1970 (1970-06-07) (age 47)
Livonia, Michigan
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Center
Shoots Left
Played for Minnesota North Stars
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
National team Flag of the United States.svg United States
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1988
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career 1989–2011
Hall of Fame, 2014

Mike Modano (born Michael Thomas Modano Jr. on June 7, 1970) is a retired American professional ice hockey player who played primarily for the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise.

He is the all-time goal-scoring and points leader amongst American-born players in the NHL, as well as the last active player in the NHL who played for the North Stars when the team was in Minnesota.

He was drafted first overall by the North Stars in 1988 and after the team moved to Texas, he helped the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999.

Mike played his final NHL season with his hometown team, the Detroit Red Wings. He is considered one of the most influential figures in popularizing hockey in Texas and the southern United States.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 17, 2014.

Playing CareerEdit

Minor League CareerEdit

In 1986, 16-year-old Mike was invited by coach Rick Wilson of the Prince Albert Raiders to come to Saskatchewan and join the Western Hockey League team.

At his very first game, he scored a hat trick, and by his second year, he was part of the WHL All-Star Team. Four days before Modano's eighteenth birthday, the Minnesota North Stars selected him as the first overall draft pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

Mike was the second American to be selected first overall in the draft after Brian Lawton in 1983 and since then, Bryan Berard (1995), Rick DiPietro (2000), Erik Johnson (2006), Patrick Kane (2007) and Auston Matthews (2016) have also been taken first overall.

Contract issues lead Mike to play one more season with the Raiders.

Early NHL years: Minnesota North StarsEdit

The North Stars signed Mike on Christmas of 1988 and he joined the team for the 1989–90 season.

He scored his first career NHL goal against Glenn Healy of the New York Islanders and had a good rookie season which landed him on the NHL All-Rookie Team and made him a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Mike controversially lost the award to 31-year-old Sergei Makarov, who had already played professionally in the Soviet Championship League for over 12 years; this led to an age barrier of 26 for Calder candidates from the following year to the present.

Despite the good start, Mike was often criticized in Minnesota as an underachiever who did not compare to the 1988 number two pick Trevor Linden. This was evidenced by a sophomore season where the North Stars reached the Stanley Cup Finals, but he barely repeated his goals and assists while confronting coach Bob Gainey for his overtly defensive style.

In 1992, Mike signed a four-year extension that made him the highest-paid member of the team, receiving $2 million per year. He soon had his best season up to that point, scoring 93 points at the 1992–93 NHL season and earning his first NHL All-Star Game invitation.

The Stars move to Dallas: Stanley Cup ChampionshipEdit

Prior to the 1993–94 NHL season, the North Stars moved to Dallas to become the Dallas Stars.

Considering the relocation to Texas as an opportunity for a fresh start, with different expectations from fans and the media, Mike decided to accept Gainey's suggestions to become a more complete player and perform more attacks.

He recorded a personal-best 50 goals and again scored 93 points. Soon he became an idol in Dallas, becoming the player who sold the most jerseys and received the most letters.

During the next two seasons, Mike lowered his goalscoring and had many injuries (such as a concussion, a knee injury and ruptured ankle tendons), but he improved his defensive play. Despite that, the Stars failed to qualify for the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Gainey stepped down as head coach, while remaining GM.

Ken Hitchcock was hired on January 8, 1996 as Dallas' coach, installing a defensive-minded system while requesting Mike to concentrate on his offense and using him more routinely (from the 15–18 minutes under Gainey), he routinely played twenty-five minutes with Hitchcock.

Helped by new acquisitions Joe Nieuwendyk and Sergei Zubov, Mike led the Stars to the Central Division title in the 1996-97 NHL season. In the 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs (with new goaltender Ed Belfour) the Stars reached the Western Finals.

In 1999, Mike won the Stanley Cup with the Stars, playing all six games of the finals against the Buffalo Sabres despite breaking his wrist in the second game. He assisted on the Stars' final five goals of the series, including both in Game 5 and Game 6, and led the Stars with 23 points in the playoffs, with all seven in the finals on assists.

The Stars returned to the finals in 2000 against the New Jersey Devils. Modano scored the overtime goal that gave the Stars a victory in game 5, but on game 6 in Dallas, the Devils wound up closing the series 4-2.

Mike averaged 78 points per season from 1996–2002, and was also one of the NHL's top forwards in plus/minus over that span (his +43 in 1997 was second only to John LeClair's +44 mark).

His career high for points in a game is six (2–4–6) against the Anaheim Ducks, and he has seven career hat tricks. His only career fight was against Rod Brind'Amour.

Mike was also a candidate for the Frank J. Selke Trophy (2001), and the Lady Byng Trophy (2003).

2005–2010Edit

As the long-time face of the Dallas franchise, Mike has recorded over 1,000 NHL points and became the captain of the Stars in 2003. During the 2005 offseason, he contemplated signing with the Boston Bruins, but he decided to stay with the Stars after owner Tom Hicks got involved. He would sign a five-year contract extension with Dallas on August 5, 2005.

On September 29, 2006, Brenden Morrow replaced him as the Stars' captain; Mike served an alternate captain from that time until 2010, a role in which he had previously served from 1995 to 2003.

On March 13, 2007, Mike scored his 500th career regular-season goal on March 13, 2007, with 10:24 left in the 3rd period in a regulation win against Antero Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers with assists by Antti Miettinen and Jon Klemm. He is only the 14th goal scorer to score 500 goals with a single team and the 39th player to reach 500 goals overall.

On March 17, 2007, in an away game versus the Nashville Predators, he scored his 502nd and 503rd career regular-season goals in a 3–2 loss, thus passing Joe Mullen's NHL record (502) for most goals scored by an American-born player.

Mark also holds the NHL all-time record for most points scored by a U.S. born player. He broke the record (which previously belonged to Phil Housley on November 7, 2007) by scoring two goals in the first five minutes with the record-breaker being a short-handed goal on a breakaway, against the San Jose Sharks.

That night, amongst his congratulatory phone calls was one from Air Force One, U.S. President George W. Bush spoke to him for a few minutes about the record.

November 21, 2007, was "Mike Modano Tribute Night" at American Airlines Center where he was honored by the franchise for his achievements in U.S. hockey. Those who spoke in the pre-game ceremony included Brett Hull, Joe Mullen, Phil Housley and Stars owner Tom Hicks.

Capping off an emotional night, Mike later went on to score the game-tying goal, as well as a shootout goal in a 3–2 Stars victory against the Anaheim Ducks.

With his production declining from 2007–2010, Mike played out the duration of his contract, which expired after the 2009–10 season.

In the final game of that season (coincidentally played in Minnesota, where Modano began his pro career), he was saluted with a video tribute and a standing ovation, and named the game's first star, skating around the ice wearing a Minnesota North Stars jersey.

2010–11: Stint with Detroit and RetirementEdit

On June 29, 2010, the Stars announced that Mike would not be re-signed to a contract for the 2010–11 season. After contemplating retirement or signing with the Detroit Red Wings (in his home state) or with the Minnesota Wild (in the state where he began his NHL career), he signed a one-year contract with the Red Wings.

As the #9 jersey had been retired by the Red Wings, Mike went for #90 instead. Coach Mike Babcock expressed a desire for him to center Detroit's third line with Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler.

At 5:35 of the first period of Detroit's 2010–11 home opener (on just his second shift), Mike took a pass from Cleary and beat Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller for his first goal as a Red Wing.

On September 23, 2011, after 21 seasons in the NHL, Mike officially announced his retirement from hockey at a press conference in Dallas. He was the last active player to have played in the 1980s (along with Mark Recchi) as well as the last active player to have played for the Minnesota North Stars. The Stars signed him to a one-day contract to allow Mike to retire with as a Dallas Star.

In January 2013, Mike became an alternate governor and executive advisor for the Stars' office. He described his role as regarding the "business side of the organization", attracting the involvement of local businesses to the team as well as getting more fans to Stars games.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1985–86 Detroit Compuware MNHL 69 66 65 131 32
1986–87 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 70 32 30 62 96 8 1 4 5 4
1987–88 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 65 47 80 127 80 9 7 11 18 18
1988–89 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 41 39 66 105 74
1988–89 Minnesota North Stars NHL 2 0 0 0 0
1989–90 Minnesota North Stars NHL 80 29 46 75 63 7 1 1 2 12
1990–91 Minnesota North Stars NHL 79 28 36 64 65 23 8 12 20 6
1991–92 Minnesota North Stars NHL 76 33 44 77 46 7 3 2 5 4
1992–93 Minnesota North Stars NHL 82 33 60 93 83
1993–94 Dallas Stars NHL 76 50 43 93 54 9 7 3 10 16
1994–95 Dallas Stars NHL 30 12 17 29 8
1995–96 Dallas Stars NHL 78 36 45 81 63
1996–97 Dallas Stars NHL 80 35 48 83 42 7 4 1 5 0
1997–98 Dallas Stars NHL 52 21 38 59 32 17 4 10 14 12
1998–99 Dallas Stars NHL 77 34 47 81 44 23 5 18 23 16
1999–00 Dallas Stars NHL 77 38 43 81 48 23 10 13 23 10
2000–01 Dallas Stars NHL 81 33 51 84 52 9 3 4 7 0
2001–02 Dallas Stars NHL 78 34 43 77 38
2002–03 Dallas Stars NHL 79 28 57 85 30 12 5 10 15 4
2003–04 Dallas Stars NHL 76 14 30 44 46 5 1 2 3 8
2005–06 Dallas Stars NHL 78 27 50 77 58 5 1 3 4 4
2006–07 Dallas Stars NHL 59 22 21 43 34 7 1 1 2 4
2007–08 Dallas Stars NHL 82 21 36 57 48 18 5 7 12 22
2008–09 Dallas Stars NHL 80 15 31 46 46
2009–10 Dallas Stars NHL 59 14 16 30 22
2010–11 Detroit Red Wings NHL 40 4 11 15 8 2 0 1 1 0
NHL totals 1499 561 813 1374 926 176 58 88 146 128

International statisticsEdit

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1988 USA WJC 7 4 1 5 8
1989 USA WJC 7 6 9 15 12
1990 USA WC 8 3 3 6 2
1991 USA CC 8 2 7 9 2
1993 USA WC 6 0 0 0 2
1996 USA WCH 7 2 4 6 4
1998 USA Oly 4 2 0 2 0
2002 USA Oly 6 0 6 6 4
2004 USA WCH 5 0 6 6 0
2005 USA WC 7 3 1 4 4
2006 USA Oly 6 2 0 2 6
Senior int'l totals 57 14 27 41 24

International PlayEdit

Olympic medal record
Men's ice hockey
Silver 2002 Salt Lake City Ice hockey

Mike played for the United States in:

  • 1988 World Junior Championships
  • 1989 World Junior Championships
  • 1990 IIHF World Championships
  • 1991 World Cup of Hockey (Silver medal)
  • 1993 World Championships
  • 1996 World Cup of Hockey (Gold medal)
  • 1998 Winter Olympics
  • 2002 Winter Olympics (Silver medal)
  • 2004 World Cup of Hockey
  • 2005 World Championships
  • 2006 Winter Olympics

AccoladesEdit

  • East First All-Star Team (WHL) – 1989
  • NHL All-Rookie Team – 1990
  • NHL Second All-Star Team – 2000
  • NHL All-Star Games – 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003 (as the Western Conference team captain), 2004, 2007 (as the Special Ambassador), 2009
  • Stanley Cup champion – 1999 (Dallas)
  • Dallas Stars #9 jersey retired – 2014

RecordsEdit

NHLEdit

  • Goals by a player born in the United States (561)
  • Points by an American-born player (1374)
  • Playoff points by an American-born player, career (146)
  • Games played by an American-born forward (1499)

Minnesota North Stars/Dallas StarsEdit

  • Games played, regular season and playoffs (1459, 174)
  • Goals, regular season and playoffs (557, 58)
  • Assists, regular season and playoffs (802, 87)
  • Points, regular season and playoffs (1359, 145)

Personal LifeEdit

Mike was born in Livonia, Michigan (the third child and only son of Michael, Sr. and Karen Modano) and grew up in Highland Township. Due to causing problems at school with his mischievous behavior, a friend of his father suggested to put him in a team sport to get him controlled.

Michael, Sr. was a fan of hockey, and decided to teach ice skating to seven-year-old Mike. He learned it well, and six months later, he was put in local hockey teams.

At the age of nine, Mike was part of a Detroit Red Wings team in a pee-wee tournament in Quebec. In order to spend his minor hockey career with the Detroit Little Caesar's Triple AAA Hockey Club, the Modano family moved to Westland.

Mike made the Midget Major team at the age of 14 when his teammates were two to three years older. In the 1984-85 season, he scored 50 goals and 50 assists on the way to win the USA Hockey National Championship in 1985.

As a child, Mike decided to pick the number 9 for his jersey in an homage to both Ted Williams, an idol of his Boston Red Sox fan father and the Red Wings' own Gordie Howe.

During his tenure with the Raiders, Mike started dating Kerri Nelson (the sister of his teammates Jeff & Todd Nelson. In October 1999, he proposed to her, but they eventually ended the engagement in February 2000.

On November 30, 2006, singer/songwriter Willa Ford announced that Mike (her long-time boyfriend) had proposed to her during the weekend of Thanksgiving of 2006.

They were married in a small ceremony in Athens, Texas on August 25, 2007 where Brett Hull and Darryl Sydor attended as Modano's co-best men.

Willa was asked by the NHL to blog the Dallas Stars' 2007 playoff series and her posts were well-received, and her support of her husband quite vocal.

In August 2012, Mike and Willa announced that they were divorcing.

On September 1, 2013, he married professional golfer Allison Micheletti (the daughter and niece of former NHL players Joe Micheletti and Pat Micheletti, respectively). They have twins, born in 2014.

Mike is the founder and current Vice President of the Mike Modano Foundation, Inc., which raises awareness and funding for organizations offering education and assistance to children and families affected by child abuse, acts with canine rescue and has also united with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Moreover, since the start of his NHL career, he has affiliated many times with both charitable organizations and the Texas community in general. He has also had his own clothing line during the 1990s.

On January 21, 2007, the NHL announced Mike as the Special Ambassador to the 2007 NHL All-Star Celebration, thanks to his numerous contributions towards bringing the 55th National Hockey League All-Star Game to Dallas and also for his contributions to Dallas hockey as a whole.

Mike (the Stars' all-time leader in several statistical categories and a member of the franchise for the entirety of his 17-year career) appeared at selected All-Star events and dropped the puck in a ceremonial face-off prior the game on January 24, 2007.

He made a brief cameo appearance alongside then-teammate Basil McRae in the 1992 film "The Mighty Ducks" whe only had two lines in the movie in which he said to Emilio Estevez: "I heard you were a farmer" and "take it easy."

Nonetheless, he still received a membership voucher to the Screen Actors Guild for the role.

Mike is an avid golfer, having met his second wife on a golf course and playing in some tournaments after retirement.

On Mike Modano Tribute Night, both the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks organizations presented him with golf packages, one of which was for the course at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland. His golf partner is often former Stars teammate Brett Hull.

Hull and Mike ran a Dallas restaurant, Hully & Mo Restaurant and Tap Room from 2008 to 2012.

In 2003, the town of Westlan (where Mike lived during his minor hockey career and his parents still reside) renamed their ice rink as Mike Modano Ice Arena.

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