The all-time highest scoring American-born player in the National Hockey League, Mike Modano was a smooth skating forward who spent 17 seasons in hockey's premier league.
Mike Modano was born June 7, 1970 in Livonia, Michigan, and began skating at the age of seven, registering for hockey shortly afterwards. Within two years, the prodigy was excelling to the point that his family moved in order for Mike to get better opportunities to progress in the game. In 1985, he collected 50 goals and 100 points on the way to win the USA Hockey National Championship. The 16-year-old was convinced to join the junior Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. He was selected first overall, the pick of the Minnesota North Stars, at the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.
After a final season of junior in 1988-89, and having joined Team USA at the World Junior Championships in 1988 and 1989, Modano made his NHL debut during the 1989-80 season. That year, he was chosen for the NHL All-Rookie Team and was runner-up to Sergei Makarov for the Calder Trophy as the top first-year player in the NHL.
The North Stars left Minnesota for Dallas and were re-branded as the Stars prior to the 1993-94 season, with Modano helping to sell NHL hockey in Texas. The Stars finished first in the Central Division in 1996-97, reached the Conference final in 1998 and then, won it all in 1999. Modano led the Stars in scoring through the post-season with 23 points, in spite of playing with a broken wrist suffered in Game Two of the final against the Buffalo Sabres.
While regarded as an offensive-minded forward through most of his career, Modano, modified his game and in 2001, was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward.
In many ways, Mike Modano was the face of the North Stars/Stars franchise. He had 16 seasons scoring 20 or more goals, including 9 with 30 or more, plus a superb 50-goal season in 1993-94. Twice, including that 1993-94 season, he recorded 93 points. He was selected to the NHL's Second All-Star Team in 2003, and played in eight All-Star Games.
In June 2010, the Dallas Stars announced that Modano would not be re-signed for the 2010-11 season. Although he considered retirement, Modano signed instead with the Detroit Red Wings in his home state, and finished his career with a season in Red Wing red and white.
After 21 seasons in the NHL, Mike Modano announced his retirement from hockey in September 2011. Dallas signed Modano to a one-day contract to allow him to retire as a member of the Stars. They retired his number 9 in 2014.
Mike Modano collected 1,374 points (561 goals and 813 assists) through 1,499 regular season NHL games. He added 146 points (58 goals and 88 assists) in 176 NHL playoff games. He holds NHL records for most regular season goals and most regular season points by an American-born layer, as well as the most playoff points by an American-born player.
Modano represented the United States at the Winter Olympics in 1998, 2002 (taking home a silver medal) and 2006. He participated in the 1991 Canada Cup where he captured the silver medal, as well as, on two occasions, at the World Cup of Hockey (1996 and 2004), helping lead the Americans to victory in 1996. He took part in the IIHF World Championships in 1990, 1993 and 2005.