A Star on the ice

After 21 fantastic seasons, hockey’s top American retires

22.09.2011
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Two hockey legends: Mike Modano (left) ends his career while Saku Koivu (right) still plays for Anaheim. Photo: Jukka Rautio / Europhoto

U.S. hockey’s greatest player has called it a career. Mike Modano, veteran of 21 NHL seasons and the most decorated U.S.-born hockey player ever, has decided to hang up his skates for the last time.

Modano’s international career has been exemplary as a member of Team USA. Throughout his career he has played in three Olympics, three World Championships, two World Cups and two World U20 Championships, winning gold at the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and an Olympic silver medal in 2002. That year Modano received the prestigious USA Hockey Bob Johnson Award, which recognizes excellence in international ice hockey competition, for his commitment to his country and the sport.

Modano holds multiple NHL records for American players, including goals (561) and points (1,374), and ranks second all-time in games played (1,499) behind Chris Chelios.

He also holds Minnesota/Dallas franchise records for goals in the regular season (557), goals in the playoffs (58), assists in the regular season (802), assists in the playoffs (87) and points in both the regular season (1,359) and playoffs (145). His tremendous on-ice skill as well as his personality helped to promote hockey in Dallas, the city where he spent the majority of his NHL career.

After the Minnesota North Stars drafted him No. 1 overall in 1988, he helped lead them to the Stanley Cup final in 1991, losing in six games to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two years later Minnesota moved to Texas and became the Dallas Stars. In his first season in Dallas Modano posted 50 goals and 93 points – a career high – only to see his team bow out in the second round of the playoffs.

It would be another six years before Modano would lift hockey’s ultimate prize. Playing with a broken wrist suffered in Game 2 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, Modano returned to the lineup for Game 3 and went on to record five assists in the final four games, including on Brett Hull's series winner in triple overtime of Game 6, which gave the Stars their first and only Stanley Cup.

Following his retirement, Modano plans to do some pregame work for the NHL Network in the coming weeks.

ADAM STEISS


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