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Relocated NHL Teams: The Minnesota North Stars

The Minnesota North stars were an ice hockey team that played in the NHL fro 1967 to 1993. Today, the team is known as the Dallas Stars. The team was formed in 1967 as the league sought to expand from six to 12 teams. The new franchise was awarded to a group of nine investors led by John Driscoll and Walter Bush. The moniker “North Stars” was borrowed from the state motto of Minnesota “Etoile du Nord”, a French phrase meaning “The Star of the North.” The team wore Green, black, gold and white Strip.

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The North Star’s were based at the Metropolitan Sports Center which was located in Bloomington, a suburb of the city of Minneapolis. The Met Center was built in 1966 at a cost of 7 million dollars which would be 41 million today. As the team played their first home game on October, 21 1967, sections of the stadium were still under construction. After the move of the North Stars to Dallas, the arena hosted a few other teams but was eventually demolished in 1994. Today the site hosts an IKEA store and is set to be the site of Mall of America Phase II.

The North Stars were an average team during their stay in Minneapolis. In total, they made 17 playoff appearances, 6 conference Finals and 2 Stanley cup Finals but they only had 2 Division Championships to show for it. The highlight of their on-court performance is undoubtedly their two Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1981 and 1991. During the 1980/81 season they were reliant on the formidable partnership of Dino Ciccarelli and Neal Broten. They reached the playoffs after they finished third in their division with a 35-26-17 record. They swept the Boston Bruins in three straight games, scoring 20 goals in the process. They would then dismiss the Buffalo Sabers in five games in the second round and then beat the Calgary Flames in the semifinals to set up a Stanley Cup Final meet with the New York Islanders. They succumbed in five games to the Islanders.

The Stars would wait ten years to return to the Stanley Cup final. In the 1990/91 season they made it to the playoffs after finishing fourth in their division. They faced the President’s trophy winners, Chicago Blackhawks and beat them in four games to two to set up a Norris Final against the St. Louis Blues. They again beat the Blues in four games to two thus making it to the Campbell Conference Finals. The North Stars faced the defending Stanley Cup champions Edmonton oiler whom they beat in five games. In their second Stanley Cup Final, they met the Pittsburg Penguins. After taking a 2-1 series lead they lost three straight games to hand the trophy to the Penguins.

Something very sad happened barely one month into the North Stars’ first season. On January 13th during a game against the Seals at the Met Center, forward Bill Masterston fell backward and hit his head on the ice. He became unconscious and died in hospital two days later due to severe brain injury. This remains the only death from an injury sustained in an NHL game to date. Masterston’s memory is however preserved through the Bill Masterston Memorial Trophy which is awarded annually by hockey writers to the hockey player who most exemplifies the ideals of dedication, perseverance and sportsmanship.

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Why Did The North Stars Relocate?

The Stars’ performance on the ice was inconsistent at best and towards the end of the 80s there was already talk of a possible relocation as match attendance waned significantly. The Mets Arena was also in dire condition and a deal with Bloomington for a new stadium was not forthcoming. Owner Norm Green was contemplating a move to L.A but the NFL asked him to move elsewhere in order to accommodate the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim owned by the Walt Disney Company. Amid strong opposition in Minnesota, Green eventually moved the team to Dallas in January 1993 and the team was renamed the “Dallas Stars”. In 1998, expansion franchise Minnesota Wild brought NFL hockey back to the Twin Cities region of Minnesota.

Who Played On The North Stars?

Dino Ciccarelli RW 1980-1989
Neal Broten C 1980 -1992
Frederick Barrett D 1970-1983
Brian Bellows RW 1982-1992
Bobby Smith C 1978-1983
Steve Payne LW 1978-1988
Jude Drouin C 1970-1975
Dave Gagner C 1987-1993
Craig Hartsburg D 1979-1989
Timothy Young C 1975–1983
Reginald MacAdam RW 1978–1984
Keith Acton C 1983-1988
Bill Goldsworthy RW 1967-1977
Kent-Erik Andersson R 1977-1982
Dave Archibald C 1987-1990
Mike Modano C 1988-1993
Gump Worsley G 1969-1974
Daniel Grant L 1968-1974
Mike Gartner RW 1988-1990
Larry Murphy 1988-1991 D

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