Mike Modano was eager to get involved with an NHL team, and Wild owner Craig Leipold provided the perfect landing spot.
Modano, a Hockey Hall of Famer and the No. 1 overall pick by the North Stars in 1988, will join the Wild as an executive adviser on Sept. 1. He will work with Leipold and team President Matt Majka, eight years after retiring as the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history.
“Mike will be advising Matt and myself on mostly business-oriented issues, including working on developing sponsors and season-ticket holders, game entertainment, our foundation,” Leipold said.
“We also anticipate as [General Manager] Paul Fenton has any issues or questions, Mike will be available for that as well.”
Leipold said he and Modano, who lives in Arizona, texted while watching Wild games during the season as their relationship developed.
“When he came to visit us, I felt a real connection between Mike and myself, and Mike and Matt,” Leipold said. “Mike is such an important part of our hockey culture in this state and the opportunity to have Mike come to work for us is going to give us a big boost.”
Modano and his wife, Allison — the daughter of former Gophers and NHL defenseman Joe Micheletti — have four children and will relocate to the Twin Cities eventually.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” said Modano, who played four seasons for the North Stars before they moved to Texas to become the Dallas Stars.
“I’ve been away from the game for a bit. It was good mentally to get away and get a break from it. ... I needed a little time and space. With our family and kids, obviously [there are] obligations. But I’ve been itching to get back.”
Modano, 48, had 561 goals and 813 assists for 1,374 points in 1,499 NHL games in 21 seasons with the North Stars-Stars and Detroit. He won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 and had his No. 9 retired by the Stars in 2014.
He anticipates his new job will involve working in the community and with the fan base.
When asked about his involvement with hockey operations, Modano said he would be focused on the business side.
“After I retired, I spent a lot of time doing that, working on more of a community basis and on the business side [with Dallas], and that’s something I enjoyed,” Modano said.