With the first pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota North Stars select, Mike Modano of the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL.

With one sentence, a new history book of United States hockey began.  At 17 years, 361 days, Michael Thomas Modano, an avid baseball fan and player was picked by the North Stars to turn the team into a contender and ultimately, become the face of the franchise.

It may have taken him some time, but Modano embraced his responsibility, especially upon moving to Texas.  I have said it many times before: Wayne Gretzky brought hockey to the south, but it was Mike Modano who cultivated it.  It's been well documented what Modano did for hockey in the south and the state of Texas in particular with the increase of hockey rinks and registered hockey players.  However, with Mike Modano, there was always so much more than the goals and points.  I asked folks what Modano's contribution has meant to them in regards to their being a hockey fan.  Many of you expressed very similar bonds: