The Dallas Stars started their existance a long way from Dallas, Texas. In 1967 Walther Bush was part of an ownership group comprising of several Minnesotans who bought one of the National Hockey League's first six expansion francishes, forming the Minnesota North Stars. The North Stars started play in the 1967-68 season calling the Metropolitan Sports Arena in Bloomington home. The team had good success in the early going, making the NHL playoffs for the first four years. The Stars contined to progress through the 1970s, absorbing the players of the Cleveland Barons in 1978 and eventually making their first ever Stanley Cup appearance (losing to the Islanders) in 1981. The rest of the eighties saw the North Stars continue to make the playoffs on a regular basis, with solid play from Bobby Smith, Neal Broten, and Dino Ciccareli.
The late-1980s saw the North Stars struggle with injuries and changes. After missing the NHL playoffs in the 1986-88 seasons, they bounced back with the return of Dave Gagner and Mike Gartner. It would not be until the next year that the Stars fans got their first glimpse of the man who would end up being the franchise player in Minnesota and Dallas. The North Stars selected American born Mike Modano in the first round of the 1990 NHL entry draft. Modano finished that year with an impressive 75 points, on his way to begin a great NHL career. While things were looking up on the ice, the very opposite was the case with respect to the team's finances and its ownership situation.
Team owners Gordon and George Gund wanted to move the team to San Jose or find a buyer who would pay atleast $50 million. The move was eventually stopped as Norman Green and Howard Baldwin bought the team. The Gunds were granted an NHL expansion franchise for San Jose, and would select some players from the North Stars system for their new team, named the Sharks. Soon to follow were coaching and front office changes as Bob Clarke came in as GM with Bob Gainey going behind the bench as head coach. The 1990-91 regular season for the Stars was nothing special, with the team starting off slow only to catch fire in the final couple of months. But they managed to take their momentum into the playoffs as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers, to face a Mario Lemieux led Pittsburg Penguins squad. The Penguins went on to win that series and the Stanley Cup in six games, handily beating the North Stars 8-0 in the final tilt.
With financial issues that were never really addressed, the Minnesota franchise would move in 1993. The team, now referred to as just the Stars moved south to become the very first Texas based NHL team, calling Dallas home. In its first season in Dallas, the Stars defeated the St Louis Blues in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but lost to the Vancouver Canucks. After the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, the team was sold to media mogul Tom Hicks. Despite their new found financial reserves the Stars floundered that year and finished out of the playoffs. As part of a restructuring, Bob Gainey stepped down as coach and hired Ken Hitchcock to take over behind the bench. Gainey would continue to be the GM of the team and added veterans Guy Carbonneau and Joe Nieuwendyk.
The Stars showed marked improvement in the 1996-97 season, adding 38 more points from their dismal previous year. Despite being heavy playoff favorites they succumbed to the outstanding goaltending of Curtis Joseph as he guided the Edmonton Oilers past the Stars in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The Stars continued to solidify their team by adding goaltender Ed Belfour and other veteran players to what was shaping up to be a very good team. They won the President's trophy with the most regular season points in the 1997-98 season. They defeated the San Jose Sharks in the first round and went on to exact revenge from the Edmonton Oilers for past upsets. With Ed Belfour, Derian Hatcher, Sergei Zubov, Mike Modano, and Joe Nieuwendyk forming a solid core the team looked ready to make that final surge. But injuries kept them back as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Stars in a six game Western Conference final.
The Stars continued to build on their solid team. They eventually added Brett Hull, one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history. His addition would eventually be quite important as the Stars reached their ultimate goal of playing in the Stanley Cup finals in the 1999 season. They faced off against Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres. It was a somewhat controversial goal by Brett Hull that brought the first ever Stanley Cup to the Dallas Stars franchise. The years following the win saw changes within the team as Hull, Belfour and Hatcher would eventually move on. But the Stars added Bill Guerin and gave goalie Marty Turco the spotlight he deserved. With the continued leadership from veterans like Mike Modano, they are one of the premier NHL teams.
Dallas Stars Overview
Formerly known as: Minnesota North Stars (1967-1993)
Arena: American Airlines Center
Stanley Cups won: 1 (1999)