Avid hockey fans know all the different moves various franchises made. Some existed for just a few short months after moving, while others were around for many years. Then, eventually, some of these franchises moved on until the original team was forgotten.
Minnesota, a state with a very proud hockey tradition, had a professional team, the Minnesota North Stars, who were in existence from 1967 – 1993. In the 1966 - 1967 season, there were just 6 NHL teams. The league, looking to expand to 12, was willing to listen to offers from a variety of different cities. The Minnesota North Stars successfully won a bid to become Minnesota’s first professional team.
The Metropolitan Sports Center was built in Bloomington, but it was just barely ready for the 1967 – 1968 season. Some seats were still not completed, but play still went on.
The team started off with a high degree of success, as it led the new expansion West Division halfway through its first season. But then, tragedy struck, when Bill Masterton was hit and fell backwards, slamming his head hard on the ice. He went unconscious, never came to awareness again, and died two days later. Masterton remains the only NHL player to die as a result of an injury to date. The team went on that year to lose to the St. Louis Blues in a seven-game series, which made them just one game shy of going to the Stanley Cup finals.
The team continued to experience a fair degree of success. It made the playoffs 15 times in its 26-year history. Although it made the Stanley Cup Finals twice, it did not win either time.
Minnesota Skips Town for Dallas
When he officially made the decision to relocate the franchise, owner Norm Green quickly became the most hated person in Minnesota. Among the reasons the team was moved include no deal being made for the construction of a new arena in the Twin Cities area, poor attendance during a succession of losing seasons, and a sexual harassment suit against Green, which reportedly resulted in his wife threatening to leave him unless he relocated the team.
The team then relocated to Dallas. As the Dallas Stars, the team won an NHL Championship in 1999 with star player Mike Modano, who was also a strong factor in the North Stars’ 1991 run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Modano’s retirement in 2011 made it official no more North Stars could be found playing in the league.
Professional hockey, however, made a return to Minnesota in 2000, when the Minnesota Wild began play. The team experienced a reasonable degree of success, making it to the Western Conference Finals in 2002-2003 and winning its first division championship in 2008.
-Dan "The Wisconsin Hockey Fan"
Share with friends:March 27, 2012