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Nine To Be Raised To The Rafters

Thursday, 06.6.2013 / 11:16 AM CT / News
By Mark Stepneski
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Nine To Be Raised To The Rafters

It was never a matter of if it was going to happen, just a matter of when. Now, we know the when. The Dallas Stars will retire Mike Modano’s number 9 on March 8, 2014. The team made it official at Tuesday night’s rebranding event at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

“Just a lot of emotions and memories and things that have happened over the 25 years of being with this organization,” Modano said of the announcement. “Starting off as a teenager and going through a lot of ups and downs and things like that.”

There were a lot more ups than downs in Modano’s career. He played 21 seasons in the NHL, 20 of them with the Stars. He’s the franchise leader in just about every key category including games played (1,459), goals (557), assists (802) and points (1,359). He helped the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999.

"He's a Dallas Star. He's the first guy whose jersey is being retired because of what he did as a Dallas Star,” said Stars President and CEO Jim Lites. “People have asked me if there are others that might come from that team that won the Stanley Cup, and I think the answer to that question is ‘maybe.’ Mike Modano has never been a maybe. It's just been a question of (determining) when."

Modano’s jersey will be retired on a night when the Minnesota Wild will be playing the Stars, and it’s a fitting opponent. The Livonia, Michigan, native started his career when the Stars franchise was in Minnesota, a first overall selection of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1988 NHL Draft.

“I think it was between Detroit and Minnesota, and it just happened to be Minnesota, which I think is just as good as against the Wings. It started there,” Modano said of the opponent on his jersey retirement night. “I have obviously a lot of fond memories of my time there, but it’s something that we talked about toward the end of the season and then in the summer, when we could secure a date. So, it’s something on the calendar now, looking forward to it.”

Lites said this season has been the first opportunity to do the Modano jersey retirement ceremony the right way. Modano announced his retirement prior to the 2011-12 season, which saw the Stars undergo the ownership change and Tom Gaglardi took over. The lockout made things chaotic last season. This season, the timing is perfect.

“This was the first time we had an opportunity. We are not dragging our heels. It’s an opportune time,” Lites said. “We want to plan the events in advance. We want to do it right, the way the Red Wings did [Steve] Yzerman and the Rangers did [Mark] Messier. That’s going to be a huge event for us. Mike is very involved in planning it himself and Tom Gaglardi said whatever it takes to do it right, we’re going to do. It is going to be first class.”

A preliminary guest list is already in the works and an is expected to include teammates from Modano’s early days with the North Stars and, of course, the Dallas Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship team and the team that went to the 2000 Stanley Cup Final. There are coaches, general managers on the list as well, along with some of Modano’s teammates from USA Hockey.

It’s sure to be an emotional night for Modano. Much like his retirement press conference and that magical night when he played his final game in Dallas as a Star, scoring a late game-tying goal and then tallying in the shootout as the Stars beat the Ducks at American Airlines Center.

“I think it’ll be just as tough. I think the press conference was tough, the last game, that one,” Modano said. “When you have to address people by yourself and you’ve got to say a lot of things in a short time and you’ve got to touch on a lot of things, memories and moments, it just kind of all hits you at once. It’s tough to prepare for. You try to visualize it or practice it beforehand, but nothing prepares you for that moment when you’ve got to get up there and kind of get all that out, get the right things said and obviously thank a lot of the right people.”

And it will also be an opportunity for fans to thank Modano for all the great memories and for the franchise to honor him for all he accomplished wearing that number 9, which will soon hang in the rafters at American Airlines Center.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 51 25 19 7 113 121 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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