DALLAS – Since he couldn’t stay in Dallas and wasn’t ready for retirement, Mike Modano made the logical choice: He’s going home.
The native of suburban Detroit has agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Wings. He confirmed his decision in a text message to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old forward played 20 seasons for the Minnesota-Dallas franchise and is the leading scorer among U.S.-born players in NHL history. The Stars made the tough decision not to re-sign him in late June, and he’s spent the last five weeks trying to figure out his next move.
The answer came while playing golf in Scotland with former Dallas teammate Marty Turco, the goaltender who signed with Chicago on Monday.
“It was a lot of back and forth internally, but I ultimately decided I wasn’t ready to hang up the skates so I’m going to Detroit,” Modano told ScoreBoard Monthly, the Dallas sports magazine that first reported the move.
Modano said he spoke with Minnesota and San Jose, but was swayed by discussions with Brett Hull and other former and current Red Wings.
“They all told me what a great organization and city it is to play in,” he said. “And mix in the incredible talent they have playing there and it kind of made my decision for me.”
The calibre of the team helped, too. Having won a Stanley Cup in Dallas and been to two other Stanley Cup finals, he “definitely wanted the chance to make a serious run at it.”
As for his role, Modano said: “Just in casual conversation so far, maybe third line and some power play. They have so many talented players and I’m willing to play wherever they need me to.”
Modano grew up in Livonia, Mich. He said his parents are excited to get to see him play more often.
The fans he’s leaving behind will get a chance to see him in red real soon. Dallas’ home opener is Oct. 14 against the Red Wings.
“I’m sure I’ll have plenty of different emotions going through me as we get closer to the day,” he said.
His jersey number will also be changing.
Modano always has worn No. 9, but it’s retired by Detroit in honour of Gordie Howe.
“I haven’t decided yet,” he said. “I’ve got a few ideas in mind though.”