Tag: one-day contract

Mike Modano

Mike Modano makes retirement official with an emotional press conference


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.

Mike Modano will retire as a Dallas Star, after all

Mike Modano

Plenty of Hall of Fame players spent the vast majority of their careers with one team, only to leave – and look just wrong – in a different uniform for a season or two.

Most of the time, those situations didn’t end up very pretty for anyone involved. For every instance in which a player makes their former clubs eat crow (see: Jerry Rice’s resurgence with the Oakland Raiders), there are several minor disasters. Off the top of my head, here are some obvious examples of ugly changes of scenery.

  • Emmitt Smith grinding it out with the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Patrick Ewing being ineffective the Seattle Sonics and Orlando Magic; Hakeen Olajuwon spending his last season with the Toronto Raptors.
  • Finally, for more “vintage” examples: Johnny Unitas wearing a Chargers uniform and Bobby Orr’s final days with Chicago Blackhawks.

For Dallas Stars fans, Mike Modano’s final season was even worse than those examples because he suited up with one of the team’s most hated rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. When this first happened, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk was chastised for “running Modano out of town,” which was absurd since the team probably stuck with their franchise player for at least 1-2 seasons beyond his usefulness. (That much was made clear by a flop of a final season in Detroit in which Modano scored just 15 points in 40 games.)

Either way, it was sad that Modano left the game with a whimper, especially after his rousing final game with the Stars. On the bright side, the Stars announced that they “signed” Modano to a one-day contract today. In a rather adorable gesture, the “amount” of the contract will be $999,999, an ode to Modano’s number 9. (The Stars won’t have to pay him anything since he retired.)

“This is a special day for all of us,” said Nieuwendyk. “Mike Modano will always be the face of this franchise. He means so much to our organization and all of our fans. We wanted to give him the opportunity to retire as a Dallas Star. Mike has given his heart and soul to this game for over 30 years. On behalf of the entire organization and the National Hockey League, we would like to thank him for his dedication.”

The one-day contract for a beloved franchise star is a heart-warming and time-honored gesture. Relating back to those previous examples of players suiting up with new teams in awful ways, Smith and Rice were among the greats who signed one-day contracts upon retirement with the franchises they had been inextricably linked to.

Considering Modano’s impact on the Stars franchise – and USA Hockey in general – it’s great to see this happen. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if Modano becomes a member of the team’s front office in the near future, if he decides to go in that direction.

Speaking of Modano’s importance to the Stars, we’ll leave you with the franchise records he holds, via the team.

Games Played:     1,459
Goals:     557
Assists:     802
Points:     1,359
Overtime goals:      9
Penalty Shots:     4
Goals in a season by a center:     50 (1993-94)
Hat tricks in a season:      3 (1998-99) – tied w/4
Power play goals:     156
Shorthanded goals:     29
Even-strength goals:     372
Game-winning goals:     92
Most 20-Goal Seasons:     16
Most 30-Goal Seasons:     9
Power play assists:     331
Shots:     4,194
Highest +/- in a season:     +43 (1996-97)
Playoff Games:      174
Playoff Goals:     58
Playoff Assists:     87
Playoff Points:     145