Mac Engel

The real reason why Mike Modano’s return to the NHL isn’t with the Dallas Stars

Mike Modano’s preference would have been to return to the Dallas Stars, but the two sides could never figure it out, so he’s going back to the place where his NHL career started in Minnesota.

This week, the Minnesota Wild announced that Modano will be an executive adviser in their front office. Fans and those so loyal to Modano want to know how he could possibly return to hockey but not for the Dallas Stars.

Here is your answer: The relationship between Modano and the Stars has changed; they are not divorced necessarily, but they certainly are not living together.

“I wanted to learn about the business side of hockey, and Leopold was great about it,” Modano said in a text message.

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold will give Modano, 48, the type of flexibility he craves to re-enter the game. He will assist in corporate relationships, team sales and community relations.

Remember, before the Stars relocated from Minnesota to Texas in 1993, Mo’ was the No. 1 overall pick by the North Stars in the 1988 NHL draft. He is known as the face of the Dallas Stars and sits on the Mt. Rushmore of DFW sports.

This relationship that bore so much had actually grown strained after former team owner Tom Hicks was forced to sell the team around 2010. The new ownership didn’t have the same type of personal feelings for Mo’, and the relationship slowly eroded.

Had Hicks still owned the team, Modano would never have left town, and he would have retired as a Dallas Star rather than playing the final season of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, in 2010-11.

After he retired in 2011, the Stars hired Modano in a role where he could do some broadcasting, maybe help with some scouting; where he excelled was with corporate clients and he could act as a “closer” over a lunch meeting, or a round of golf.

However, at the time, Modano and his wife were beginning to have a family. When they moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, is when the Stars told him, “This is not going to work.”

They wanted him to be in the area. Modano thought he could be of use from Arizona and fly in. The Stars did not agree.

The Stars basically told Modano to do the young family thing, and when his schedule opened up, they would talk.

Modano has four young kids, and he is an active dad; he’s also now at a point where he wants to do some work again.

New Stars owner Tom Gaglardi has been willing to spend money on players and the payroll. In other areas, per sources, he has tightened up the wallet. Throwing money at an ex-player, no matter how popular he may be, is not something he was going to do unless he felt there was a return.

That’s why the most famous Dallas Star is now back in Minnesota hanging out with the Wild.

How he will react to hanging out in St. Paul in January or February, we shall see; Modano has grown quite fond of, and accustomed to, winters in Texas and now Arizona. Typically winter in Minnesota is a bit colder than, say, Scottsdale. But it’s a dry heat, so maybe it won’t be so bad.

It should never have come to this but Mike Modano’s post playing career is beginning in Minnesota rather than with the franchise he built in Texas.

BIG MAC BITES

The first year of the The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial has been a success; both Colonial and Fort Worth should feel good about their prospects of Chuck Schwab sticking as the title sponsor of this event after the four-year contract expires.

Reading a lot of angry columns at Mt. Vernon High School’s decision to hire former Baylor and Stephenville coach Art Briles. I have a lot to say about this, but I do wonder how many of those who weighed in on this with “hot takes” interviewed people on both sides of this divisive topic. I am going with few.

The Indianapolis 500 is today. The stature of the race is nothing like it once was, but this event should be on your sports’ bucket list. The pre-race activities and first 10 laps are the most stimulating assault on your senses in sports.

Speaking of Charles Schwab, I met him this week, and I asked him if people actually know he’s a real person. He said no. He said most people think his father is Charles Schwab, who started the company. Nope. Chuck did it himself in 1973; think the little company may make it.

PGA Tour pro Ryan Palmer, who lives in Westlake, is four shots back of the lead at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Palmer is a member at Colonial, and he is known to play in Friday games with total randoms and give them tips and celebrate when they make a good shot.

A reader, whose email address goes only by KDonahoe, emailed me to say, “Mac, you seem to do a better job on non -sports topics. Good article on Mavs- Dancers…………KD”

Thanks for the tip; politics it is.

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