By Martin Iheke
Former Dallas Stars great Mike Modano recently had his number 9 retired by the organization to celebrate his great career and the impact he has made. An impact not only to USA Hockey, but also the sport in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. This past Wednesday, I had a chance to catch up with him at his luncheon for the SMU Forum.
Mike, how are you doing?
I’m doing great. It was a great luncheon. I felt really good about it.
So what have these last few days been like for you? From having your number retired to this?
Just a whirlwind. A lot of excitement and emotions. It has been a great honor. Boy…just a thousand things I could say about it. It just has been overwhelming.
That’s cool. When you first heard that you guys were moving down to Dallas back in 1993 from Minnesota, what were your first impressions? What did you think of Dallas?
I loved it. I loved it the day I got off the flight. I knew in the back of my mind that possibly something could be really exciting. You could start from scratch and get excited about something, but yeah…. it has been a lot of work at the start to get the game out there to sell it and it has been well worth it.
Is there anything about Dallas you knew before you moved here?
Didn’t know a thing about it. Didn’t know anybody from it. Never been down here. You know…. never heard anything about it.
Okay so since then, how’s the sport of hockey grown since you guys moved down here?
It’s like night and day. The growth of hockey, youth hockey, and the building of rinks to make it accessible for kids have just have been tremendous. A lot of work went into it from the Dallas Stars side, but the popularity of the sport, our team, and the success we had certainly has helped.
What are your thoughts on the current Dallas Stars team?
Really good. They’re fun to watch. They’re hard working, quick and fast. I think there is a lot of potential.
And I’m sure you liked that considering you were a pretty fast player….
Yeah, I enjoy watching that type of hockey so they’re going down that right road. It’s getting there so it’s small steps when you’re rebuilding something and it takes a while.
What are your thoughts on Jamie Benn, the captain?
He’s been really good. He’s got a quiet confidence about him. He’s really grown into it. A lot of responsibility, but he’s handled it well. He hasn’t been trying to do something or be someone he’s not. So it has been high marks for him.
With regards to the Rich Peverley incident the other night, have you ever experienced something like that when you played?
No, never seen anything like that. I’ve seen guys knocked out, on stretchers, but never to that extreme.
Have you ever met Peverley? Did you ever talk to him?
Yeah… I’ve known Rich since he’s been here. He’s a real great guy. He loves the game but you have to start thinking about health first so he’s got some tough decisions ahead of him.
Do you think the way this team is playing that they can make the playoffs?
I think so. They’re starting to separate themselves from some teams around them so they’re getting there. They got a tough road trip coming up, but boy… if they can hang around here for a little bit, they’ll be okay.
Well…I appreciate your time, Mr. Modano. Congratulations on your number being retired today. Good luck to you, your wife, and your new twins.