As a new star rises on the crest of the Dallas Stars jersey, the number of the most legendary star is now officially set to rise to the rafters of the American Airlines Center.
The Stars announced they will retire Mike Modano's No. 9 before the March 8 game against the Minnesota Wild next season, a fitting honor for the man who was the star among Stars on and off the ice both in Minnesota and after the franchise moved to Texas.
The Stars already have three retired numbers, but Modano is the first player whose number will be enshrined mostly for his performance in Dallas. Although he was drafted when the franchise was still based in Minnesota and was a gifted young offensive player at the old Met Center, the vast majority of Modano's brilliance took place when the team played in Reunion Arena and the American Airlines Center.
If there was a record in the Stars books that Modano was eligible for, he almost certainly owns it at this point. Here's just a sampling of what Modano did for the Stars on the ice:
- 1st, games played (1,459)
- 1st, goals scored (557)
- 1st, assists scored (802)
- 1st, points scored (1359)
- 1st, even strength goals scored (372)
- 1st, short handed goals scored (39)
- 1st, power play goals scored (156)
- 1st, game winning goals scored (92)
He was obviously a key part of the Stars best years: the Presidents' Trophy wins in 1998 and 1999, the Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2000 and of course the Stanley Cup win in 1999. Modano's transition from a 50-goal scoring, offensive superstar to a well-rounded player who could be trusted in all areas of the ice and in all situations was key in the team's dominance. And his performance with a broken wrist in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals was one for the ages.
Since his retirement, he has been inducted US Hockey Hall of Fame and is a sure-fire bet to be an Hockey Hall of Famer once he becomes eligible.
Outside of his own career, the impact he had on hockey in Texas is immeasurable. There's been a veritable explosion of Texas born-and-trained players at the prospect level, from Stefan Noesen, Chris Brown and potential first-overall pick Seth Jones, and you can easily argue that none of those players would have had access to a top-level youth system without Modano's impact.
These days, his official title is Executive Director and Alternate Governor of the Stars, and he remains the most recognizable face in franchise history to the greater public. Sure, he spent the final, injury-abbreviated season of his career with his childhood hometown Detroit Red Wings, but Modano is still the indelible face of the franchise.
Stars fans will always keep Modano in their hearts, and no one can ever forget that last game he played in a Stars jersey. After the lifting of the Cup in Buffalo and the way his jersey flapped in his own wake, this is probably the one moment we all remember:
Dallas Stars retired numbers
- 7 - Neal Broten
- 8 - Bill Goldsworthy
- 19 - Bill Masterton
- 99 - Wayne Gretzky (league-wide)
Taylor Baird contributed to this story