Mike Modano's Tear-Stained Farewell

Categories: Sports
Mo1.jpg
Photos by Mike Mezeul
Mike Modano, the highest-scoring American-born player in the history of the National Hockey League and the face of the Dallas Stars even after he signed to Detroit for a final season, stifled a sob as he bade farewell to those who shaped his legendary career, which included 12 70-point seasons, eight NHL All-Star Teams and one Stanley Cup.

"I thought I'd get through the first sentence," he said, chuckling and wiping away tears. "It looks easy on paper."

"You wonder what this day would be like, and it feels pretty overwhelming. I look back at 21 years with one franchise, and I think that's what made me most proud of everything," he said, his voice breaking.

Friday afternoon, at a press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Modano was presented with his Dallas Stars jersey -- its number, 9, retired -- as he officially retired from the NHL with a one-day contract with the Stars for a symbolic $999,000. Though women at a "celebrity waiters' luncheon" screamed in a conference room next door, and the bass line of "YMCA" throbbed through the walls, Modano was wistful.

"You think you can play this game forever, but it's obvious things don't physically match up anymore," he said.

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One last time, Mike Modano dons his Dallas Stars jersey.
He described his trepidation about coming to a city where few knew the first thing about the sport. "We knew going in it would be a tough sell, enticing people to come to the games," he said. "The speed, the grace, the finesse of the game."

It wasn't easy, he says, when the North Stars of Minnesota became the Stars of Dallas in '93. But, he said, "I think we did a good job."

Finally, he thanked his mother and father, who were both in attendance. But he didn't get much further than that. He pressed his hand against his forehead and was silent. His mother got up, walked to the stage and took his hands in hers. She got up on stage and hugged her son. Modano's father followed. The audience applauded.

"I think that's it," he said. "Thanks, everybody. You've all meant a lot to my life and my career, on and off the ice.

"I couldn't have drawn up any better ending than to be home in Dallas."

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7 comments
Texasdave60
Texasdave60

I hope the Stars have the intuitiveness to put him on the payroll permanently, as a coach, consultant, whatever.  He deserves it.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Mike Modano: a fine human being and one heck of a hockey player.

Rawlins  Gilliland
Rawlins Gilliland

Anyone who has any character or any kids or any sense can see that this man is the rarest of dying breeds; the role model as an athlete an more importantly, as a man.  Dallas should b incredibly proud to claim this man for the ages as we have Troy Aikman, Nolan Ryan, Emmet Smith & a hand full of others who made living here in the era of their greatness a moment in time.  Many thanks, Rawlins

Fan
Fan

Class

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Heard most on the radio.   I did not catch the comments to/from his wife as he was thanking her and saying "I wish you could have seen me at 28 or 27 ..."    She said something that brought some laughter.

He gave a wonderful, intelligent, emotional speech ... referring to himself as a young player, "rolling my eyes as the old guys told me the time would go so quickly ..."

And extra points for him referring to "Bob and Dan and the clowns at The Ticket..." and "Mr Hockey, Dale Hansen, who I think went to 2 games in 21 years ..." 

Brad
Brad

Pure class.

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