|Minnesota North Stars|
|History||Minnesota North Stars
1967 - 1993
1993 - present
|Home Arena||Met Center|
|Colors||Green, Gold, Black and white|
|Conference Championships||1980-81, 1990-91|
|Division Championships||1981-82, 1983-84|
The Minnesota North Stars were a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1967 to 1993. The team played its home games at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. The team's colors (for most of their history) were green, gold and white. In twenty-six seasons, the team played 2,062 regular season games and appeared in the playoffs fifteen times, including two Stanley Cup Finals appearances. In the fall of 1993, the franchise moved to Dallas, Texas, where it is now known as the Dallas Stars.
Then-NHL President Clarence Campbell announced on March 11, 1965 that the league would expand from six teams, known as the "Original Six". In response to Campbell's announcement, a partnership of nine men, led by Walter Bush Jr. and John Driscoll, was formed to land a franchise in Minnesota. Their efforts were successful as the NHL awarded one of six expansion franchises to Minnesota on February 9, 1966. In addition to Minnesota, the five other locations included California (Oakland), Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. The identity of the team became the "North Stars" on May 25, 1966, following a public naming contest. The name is also derived from the state's motto "L'Étoile du Nord", which is French for "The Star of the North". Months after the naming of the team, ground was broken on October 3, 1966 for a new hockey arena in Bloomington, Minnesota. The home of the North Stars, Metropolitan Sports Center, was built in 12 months at a cost of $7 million. The arena was ready for play for the start of the 1967-68 NHL season, but portions of the arena's construction had not been completed. Spectator seats were in the process of being installed as fans arrived at the arena for the opening home game on October 21, 1967.
On October 15, 1967, the North Stars played their first in franchise history on the road against the California Seals, another expansion team. The North Stars lost their first game, but would get a rematch against the Seals six days later at home, this time playing to a 3-3 tie. The team achieved success early as it was in first place in the Western Division halfway through the the 1967-68 season. Tragedy stuck the team during the first season on January 13, 1968, when forward Bill Masterton suffered a fatal hit during a game against the Seals at Met Center. Skating towards the Seals goal across the blue line, Masterton fell backwards, hitting the back of his head on the ice. He never regained consciousness and died on January 15, 1968, at the age of 29, two days after the accident. Doctors described the cause of Masterton's death as a "massive brain injury". To this date, this remains the first and only death as a result of an injury during a game in NHL history. The North Stars retired his jersey, and later that year, hockey writers established the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy which would be given annually to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Following the news of Masterton's death, the North Stars lost the next six games.
Behind a skilled management team, the North Stars had respectable success in the early years, prospering behind goaltending duo Lorne "Gump" Worsley and Cesare Maniago. Defenseman Ted Harris was the North Stars captain. The first Stars team also included high-scoring winger Bill Goldsworthy and other quality players such as Barry Gibbs, Jude Drouin, J.P. Parise, Danny Grant, Lou Nanne, Tom Reid, and Dennis Hextall.
By the mid-1970s, with Worsley and Harris retired, the North Stars had fallen on hard times, perennially attaining poor records and usually finishing out of the playoffs. However, in 1978, the struggling team was bought by Gordon and George Gund, the owners of the Cleveland Barons franchise, who were permitted to merge the two teams in an unprecedented arrangement. A few skilled players – notably goaltender Gilles Meloche and forwards Al MacAdam and Mike Fidler – bolstered the Minnesota lineup. Furthermore, Minnesota had drafted Bobby Smith, who would go on to win the Calder Trophy that year, and Steve Payne, who himself would go on to record 42 goals in his second campaign in 1979-80.
In the middle of this transition, a historic night awaited the North Stars, Met Center, and its loyal fans. On the night of January 6, 1980, Minnesota was scheduled to play the rough and tough Philadelphia Flyers. They had come to Bloomington sporting the NHL's (and all major league sports) longest undefeated streak ever, by coming in with a 35-game string, which included 25 wins, and 10 ties.
An all-time record Met Center crowd of 15,962 squeezed into every nook and cranny of the arena, which was the largest crowd to ever witness a hockey game in Minnesota to that time, and would remain the highest total in all 26 seasons of Minnesota North Star hockey.
The crazy fans were ready, and so were the North Stars. In the end, Minnesota obliterated the Flyers and their streak, 7-1, and two North Stars posted hat tricks in the drubbing.
With the additions of fine new players such as Minnesota native and ex-1980 Olympian Neal Broten and sniper Dino Ciccarelli, the North Stars had five straight winning seasons starting in 1979-80 and included back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Semi-Final, against the Philadelphia Flyers in 1980, and then the Calgary Flames in 1981, when the North Stars finally reached their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, which put them up against the heavily stacked New York Islanders in 1980-81, which Minnesota lost in 5 games.
Dino Ciccarelli would score a franchise record 55 goals in just his second season in 1981-82, leading Minnesota to its first division title, but the team bowed out of the play-offs in the first round against an upstart Chicago Blackhawks team.
In the summer of 1982, General Manager Lou Nanne orchestrated one of the franchise's biggest moves ever, and landed a star in the making, by drafting highly coveted Brian Bellows. It paid immediate dividends, as he would score 35 goals in his rookie campaign, and helped the team to finish with 40 wins and 96 regular season points - both the most ever recorded in the 26 years the franchise was based in Minnesota. Once again, though, the North Stars fell in the play-offs to the pesky Denis Savard and Al Secord-led Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs.
Beginning in 1983-84, the team was determined to erase the failures of the previous two campaigns, and they came close to doing so. This was a season of change for the North Stars and their fans, as a new coach was behind the bench, Bill Mahoney, who was a defense- minded teacher of the game. Very early in the season, a major trade shook the organization, all of Minnesota, and the NHL. The popular Bobby Smith was shipped off to the Montreal Canadiens for a pair of defense-minded forwards, Keith Acton and Mark Napier. The team would go on to post the second-highest victory total in its history with 39, and win its second Norris Division crown.
In the playoffs, the North Stars finally vanquished the hated Chicago Blackhawks, deposing of them in a grueling 5 games series 3 games to 2, then put away the St. Louis Blues in a hard-fought 7 game set, 4-3. Only one team remained between the North Stars second Stanley Cup Final run in four seasons, Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers.
It was a tough, high-scoring series but the Oilers proved too much with its star-studded line-up, and would coast past the North Stars in a four game sweep, en route to their first Stanley Cup.
Thereafter, success dwindled away for the North Stars.
After 1984 the franchise would only have one more winning season in Minnesota before the move to Dallas. While the late 1980s saw the franchise draft what would turn out to be their greatest player – forward Mike Modano – chronic attendance problems spurred the owners to threaten to move the club to the San Francisco Bay Area, against the league's wishes.
A compromise was implemented for the 1990-91 season whereby the Gund brothers were awarded an expansion team in the Bay Area, the San Jose Sharks, that would receive players via a dispersal draft with the North Stars. A group previously petitioning for an NHL team in the Bay Area led by Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg bought the North Stars as part of the deal. Baldwin and Belzberg purchased the team from the Gund brothers for approximately $38.1 million (including $1 million in liabilities as well as giving the Gunds their share of the fees from the next three expansion teams, expected to be $7.14 million). Norman Green, a last-minute newcomer to Baldwin and Belzberg's group, purchased 51% controlling interest in the North Stars from them, with Baldwin and Belzberg sharing the remaining 49% stake in the team. Green agreed to purchase Baldwin's 24.5% share, giving him more than 75% control of the team, shortly after a dispute with Baldwin arose. Belzberg maintained his share of the rest of the team's stock until October 1990, when Green became the sole owner by buying Belzberg's shares.
In that 1991 season, despite a losing record in the regular season, the North Stars made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in franchise history. They knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues (the top two teams in the NHL during the regular season) in six games each and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers in five games. The team fought hard against the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins, led by Mario Lemieux. They won two out of the first three contests before being obliterated 8-0 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven series. It was the most one-sided defeat in a deciding game of the Stanley Cup Finals since the Ottawa Senators defeated the Dawson City Nuggets 23-2 in 1905.
The shocking loss seemed to let the air out of the franchise for good. Green's mercurial personality and mounting financial and legal problems also began to grate on the area's fan base, and local support for the franchise rapidly dwindled. Finally, with his northern mall empire threatening to fall into receivership and a sexual harassment lawsuit against him working its way through the Minnesota court system, Green demanded concessions for his team that the area and state were unwilling to give, so he moved the team to Dallas, Texas, in the fall of 1993.
When the Dallas Stars won the 1999 Stanley Cup, their official video "Nothing Else Matters" not only included their past seasons' disappointments, but also paid tribute to the North Stars' 1991 run to the final, of which star Mike Modano and general manager Bob Gainey had been part. In the next wave of NHL expansion the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) were granted a new franchise, the Minnesota Wild, which began play in the 2000-01 season.
As of the 2006-07 season, Modano, Hatcher, and Richard Matvichuk are the last former North Stars still active in the NHL. Modano is the only remaining North Star still with the franchise in Dallas, and currently serves as an assistant captain. Jere Lehtinen, though drafted by the North Stars in 1992 and still active with the team, would not play an NHL game until the 1995-96 season, by which time the franchise had relocated to Dallas.
Other former North Stars continue to play overseas or in the minor leagues. Mike Craig and Todd Elik both play in the Austrian Hockey League, Craig for the Vienna Capitals and Elik for Innsbruck EV. Tommy Sjödin is with Brynas IF in the Swedish Elitserien. Finally, Kip Miller plays for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
Professional hockey returned to Minnesota in 1997 when the National Hockey League announced that the state had been awarded an expansion franchise to begin play in the 2000-01 NHL season. The next year, the team name for the new franchise became the Minnesota Wild.
The team had 15 playoff appearances, a 77-82 playoff record, 2 Norris Division championships, and 2 Campbell Conference championships.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|1967-68||74||27||35||15||69||191||226||738||4th, West||Won Quarterfinals (Kings) 4-3
Lost Semifinals (Blues) 4-3
|1969-70||76||19||35||22||60||224||257||1,008||3rd, West||Lost Quarterfinals (Blues) 4-2|
|1970-71||78||28||34||16||72||191||223||898||4th, West||Won Quarterfinals (Blues) 4-2
Lost Semifinals (Canadiens) 4-2
|1971-72||78||37||29||12||86||212||191||853||2nd, West||Lost Quarterfinals (Blues) 4-3|
|1972-73||78||37||30||11||85||254||230||881||3rd, West||Lost Quarterfinals (Flyers) 4-2|
|1976-77||80||23||39||18||64||240||310||774||2nd, Smythe||Lost Preliminary (Sabres) 2-0|
|1979-80||80||36||28||16||88||311||253||1,064||3rd, Adams||Won Preliminary (Maple Leafs) 3-0
Won Quarterfinals (Canadiens) 4-3
Lost Semifinals (Flyers) 4-1
|1980-81||80||35||28||17||87||291||263||1,624||3rd, Adams||Won Preliminary (Bruins) 3-0
Won Quarterfinals (Sabres) 4-1
Won Semifinals (Flames) 4-2
Lost Stanley Cup Finals (Islanders) 4-1
|1981-82||80||37||23||20||94||346||288||1,358||1st, Norris||Lost Division Semifinals (Blackhawks) 3-1|
|1982-83||80||40||24||16||96||321||290||1,520||2nd, Norris||Won Division Semifinals (Maple Leafs) 3-1
Lost Division Finals (Blackhawks) 4-1
|1983-84||80||39||31||10||88||345||344||1,696||1st, Norris||Won Division Semifinals (Blackhawks) 3-2
Won Division Finals (Blues) 4-3
Lost Conference Finals (Oilers) 4-0
|1984-85||80||25||43||12||62||268||321||1,735||4th, Norris||Won Division Semifinals (Blues) 3-0
Lost Division Finals (Blackhawks) 4-2
|1985-86||80||38||33||9||85||327||305||1,672||2nd, Norris||Lost Division Semifinals (Blues) 3-2|
|1988-89||80||27||37||16||70||258||278||1,972||3rd, Norris||Lost Division Semifinals (Blues) 4-1|
|1989-90||80||36||40||4||76||284||291||2,041||4th, Norris||Lost Division Semifinals (Blackhawks) 4-3|
|1990-91||80||27||39||14||68||256||266||1,964||4th, Norris||Won Division Semifinals (Blackhawks) 4-2
Won Division Finals (Blues) 4-2
Won Conference Finals (Oilers) 4-1
Lost Stanley Cup Finals (Penguins) 4-2
|1991-92||80||32||42||6||70||246||278||2,169||4th, Norris||Lost Division Semifinals (Red Wings) 4-3|
This is a listing of the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
This is a listing of players in the Hockey Hall of Fame:
North Stars hockey games were radio broadcast on WCCO (AM) from 1967 to 1978, then moved to their new home at KSTP (AM), where they stayed until the team moved to Dallas in 1993. Al Shaver was the play-by-play announcer of the team throughout its stay in Minnesota. Known as the "Voice of Hockey" to listeners in Minnesota, Shaver is a ten-time Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year and he is also a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Following the team's departure to Dallas, he called Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey games until his retirement in 1996.
Shaver's final call for the North Stars: "It's Ludwig, giving it to Dahlen ... 4,3,2,1 ... and it's all over. The Stars lose it here, 5-3, and now it's pack-'em up time and on to Dallas. We wish them good luck. And to all the North Stars over the past 26 years, we say thank you, all of you, for so much fine entertainment. It's been a pleasure knowing you, Minnesota's loss is definitely a gain for Dallas - and a big one. We thank you, though, from the bottoms of our hearts, for all the wonderful nights at Met Center, when you've given us so much entertainment and you've been such a credit to the community in which you played. We will still remember you as the Minnesota North Stars. Good night, everybody. And goodbye."
Showers, Bob (2007), Minnesota North Stars: History and Memories with Lou Nanne, Beaver's Pond Press, ISBN 1592981976
|Relocated and defunct NHL teams|
|Atlanta Flames · Colorado Rockies · Hartford Whalers · Kansas City Scouts · Minnesota North Stars · Quebec Nordiques · Winnipeg Jets|
|Defunct||California/Oakland (Golden) Seals · Cleveland Barons · Hamilton Tigers · Montreal Maroons · Montreal Wanderers · New York/Brooklyn Americans · Ottawa Senators (original) · Philadelphia Quakers · Pittsburgh Pirates · Quebec Bulldogs · St. Louis Eagles|
|National Hockey League (2007-08)|
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|New Jersey Devils||Boston Bruins||Atlanta Thrashers||Chicago Blackhawks||Calgary Flames||Anaheim Ducks|
|New York Islanders||Buffalo Sabres||Carolina Hurricanes||Columbus Blue Jackets||Colorado Avalanche||Dallas Stars|
|New York Rangers||Montreal Canadiens||Florida Panthers||Detroit Red Wings||Edmonton Oilers||Los Angeles Kings|
|Philadelphia Flyers||Ottawa Senators||Tampa Bay Lightning||Nashville Predators||Minnesota Wild||Phoenix Coyotes|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Toronto Maple Leafs||Washington Capitals||St. Louis Blues||Vancouver Canucks||San Jose Sharks|
|Seasons (structure) · Stanley Cup (Playoffs–Finals–Champions) · Presidents' Trophy · All-Star Game · Draft · Players (Association) · All-Star Teams · Awards|
|History · Timeline · Defunct teams · NHA · Original Six · 1967 Expansion · WHA · Streaks · Droughts · Hall of Fame (members) · Rivalries · Arenas · Rules · Violence|