Mike Modano (born June 7, 1970) is one of the best American born players in the game of hockey. Modano played a huge career in NHL – mostly in Minnesota North Stars / Dallas Stars franchise. Modano was known to be one of the best skaters in the game and he was effective with the point scoring as well. Among American players, he is all-time leader in both goals and points in NHL regular season. Modano was successful also in international hockey.
After being successful in the WHL junior league, Mike Modano was drafted in NHL Entry draft by Minnesota North Stars in 1988. He made his NHL debut next season 1989-90 and made immediate impact in his inaugural season. Modano made his final breakthrough next season, when North Stars made it to the Stanley Cup finals and Modano scored 20 points in the play-offs. He made his first NHL All Star game appearance during the final North Stars season 1992-93. Next season, the franchise was already relocated in Dallas.
Success in Dallas Stars
Modano’s time in Dallas was both long and successful. Most importantly, he won the Stanley Cup with Stars in 1999. Second, he helped to increase the popularity of ice hockey in Texas. Seasons 1994-95 and 1995-96 were marred by injuries, but season after those difficult years Stars entered the post-season hockey.
The pinnacle of the time in Dallas was certainly the Stanley Cup victory in 1999. Dallas beat Buffalo Sabres in the finals and Modano played all the games despite his wrist injury that he sustained in the second match vs. the Sabres. Next season 1999-2000, Stars made it in the Stanley Cup finals again, but this time they were defeated by New Jersey Devils.
In 2005, Modano was close to sign a deal with Boston Bruins, but eventually he decided to stay in Dallas. He scored his 500th regular season goal in 2007 – his final number of goals in regular season was 561. During his last years in Dallas, Modano’s career was in steady decline and 2009-10 proved to be the final season for Modano with the Stars.
Modano signed a contract with Detroit Red Wings for season 2010-11, which was the final season for him before retiring. After his playing career, Modano has acted as an advisor in Stars and Minnesota Wild organizations.
Mike Modano represented team USA a total of eleven times in international tournaments. His biggest achievement in international hockey is winning silver medal in Olympic games of 2002 in Salt Lake City. Another noteworthy achievement is winning World Cup tournament in 1996. Modano played three times in Olympic games and four times in World Championships.
Other interesting stuff
Dallas Stars retired Modano’s #9 shirt in 2014. An interesting fact is that Stars actually signed Modano for a short contract, so he could retire from hockey as Dallas Stars player. Modano is known for his charity activities and for his love of golf. He was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.