Mike Modano finally called it a career today, announcing that he will retire from the NHL. A press conference on the matter will be held on Friday at 1:00 PM CT. Modano posted a message earlier today on his facebook page:
"After a long summer of thinking about my future, I've come to the decision that it's time to retire as a player from the NHL. There's way too many people to thank here at this time and too much to say, so I have a press conference scheduled for early Friday afternoon. Check back Friday late afternoon for more. What a great ride it's been!"
An original draft pick by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1988 draft, Modano spent 20 of his 21 NHL years with the organization (we won't mention that one year with a team that will not be named), sticking with the Stars when they moved down to Texas. His career has been nothing short of legendary as he retires the greatest American-born player to ever lace up the skates. He holds the records for most goals (561), points (1374) and playoff points (145) by an American player. He was a eight-time All-star and was a key member of the 2002 Olympic team that won a silver medal, leading the team and tournament in assists with six.
He finishes his career ranked 22nd all-time in points scored (right behind Brett Hull), 23rd in goals (behind another former teammate, Joe Nieuwendyk), and 27th in assists with 813 with Phil Housley as the only other American ahead of him with 894 assists.
He is the single biggest reason why hockey was able to succeed in Texas. He was the face of the organization and he always will be. The sight of him flying down the ice, jersey slightly untucked and flapping behind him made him an unmistakable presence on the ice. The 1999 Stanley Cup season put the city of Dallas into a frenzy that wasn't seen even during the dynasty years of the Cowboys and matched only by what happened this past season with the Dallas Mavericks.
All over the metroplex, there would be flags on cars with the Stars logo. I saw more Modano jerseys that year than I have for the rest of my life. My last playing memories of him won't be of his miguided year wearing a red sweater, but instead of that final home game he ever played in Dallas.
With a little under two minutes left in the game, down 2-1 to Anaheim, Modano deflects a puck into the net, tying the game and sending it into overtime and the subsequent shootout, where he scored, the only time the entire season that he made a shootout goal. His final swan song as a Dallas Star was one that will never be forgotten.
In the Dallas area, there is a pantheon of all-time greats. On that list: Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Dirk Nowitzki and Mike Modano. Modano is arguably the second most important Dallas figure on that list, only behind Staubach.
Thanks for all the memories Mo, go enjoy those days of golf!