It’s been a big week for the Dallas Stars franchise, as the team’s ownership situation seems less and less muddled. While the future is starting to look brighter, the team finally closed the book on its first hockey generation thanks to the retirement announcement of their greatest Star ever: Mike Modano. He shared the news via Facebook on Wednesday, but held his official press conference this afternoon.
The ceremony began with a speech by long-time Dallas Stars (and even Minnesota North Stars) play-by-play guy Ralph Strangis, who summarized Modano’s career with humor and effusive praise. Daryl “Razor” Reaugh narrated a video montage of Modano’s best moments and transformation into an elite two-way center in a way only he could – including using the word “lethality.” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk then presented the one-day “contract” the team signed Modano to, who put on his number 9 jersey one last time to an ovation.
Modano became emotional almost immediately when he began his speech, although he frequently injected some humor into the conference, including a reference to his “very stylish mullet.” Modano drew plenty of laughs when he expressed his wish that his wife Willa Ford could have seen him play hockey in his prime, as well.
He thanked just about everyone involved with his career, from his first roommate on the North Stars to fans in both markets and people behind the scenes. Modano discussed selling the sport of hockey to a Cowboys-obsessed region, even thanking local media members (including “those clowns at The Ticket”). He also spoke about his final season with the Detroit Red Wings, thanking Mike Babcock and Ken Holland for the opportunity to give it one more shot. Modano concluded the conference by thanking his parents, with both joining him on the podium for some tearful hugs. Former Stars owner Norm Green then summed everything up with some impromptu comments.
Perhaps this quote summarizes the press conference the best, though.
“You wonder what this day would be like and it feels pretty overwhelming,” Modano said, fighting back tears. “I look back at 21 years with one franchise and I think that’s what made me the most proud of anything.”
Few players have made an impact on their respective teams like Modano did with the Stars. He also ranks as one of the most important American hockey players of all-time. Modano finished his career with a slew of Stars’ franchise records and scored more goals and points than any U.S.-born player, but his contributions went beyond on-ice achievements.
For more on Modano …
Check out this post for more of Modano’s reflections on his career and more perspective on his legacy, go here for information about his one-day contract and read this article about his initial announcement.