A Stanley Cup champion, an Olympic and World Championship gold-medalist, an All-Star selection, 2001’s “Hardest Shot” winner, and an alternate captain in Tampa Bay and Columbus — Fredrik Modin had quite the NHL career.
After being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1994, Modin played for the Maple Leafs and Lightning for his first nine years in the league (six with Tampa) before being traded to the Blue Jackets before the 2006-07 season. Modin was also part of the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship team with the likes of Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards, who are currently in the Stanley Cup Final with the New York Rangers.
Modin was a respected player around the league not only because of what he did on the ice for the several teams he played for, but also his contributions to and engagement in the communities he and his family lived in.
“Freddy was brought in because he was a good player. He was really an effective guy in every aspect,” Ken Hitchcock, former Blue Jackets and current Blues head coach told BlueJackets.com. “He was a guy that could play in all three dimensions. He killed penalties, he played in the front of the net on the power play, and he played against the team’s top players. He was a very good player for us and accomplished a lot.
“Wherever we went, he was very popular with his ex-teammates; win, lose, or draw, there were guys he played with hanging outside our locker room every game wanting to talk to Freddy. That shows you how much respect he had from the communities that he lived and played in before he came to Columbus.”
With the Jackets, Modin recorded 85 points in four seasons (39 goals and 46 assists), and tallied a memorable game-tying goal in Game 4 against the Red Wings during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Although injuries limited him to just 176 games (23 in 2007-08) during his four years in Columbus, being part of a collective group that brought the Blue Jackets to the playoffs during the 2008-09 season was a prime memory of his NHL career.
Modin said he and his teammates appreciated the support that the central Ohio community gave to the team, and how Columbus embraced playoff hockey after a long wait for it.
“During the time that we did make the playoffs, leading up to the playoffs there was a buzz around (Columbus) really feeling that this was a good place to be a player in and play hockey,” Modin told BlueJackets.com. “You could definitely, as a player, feel that this is a great place to play hockey. The people love the game, there are die-hards here in Columbus that just love the team and really no matter what happens, they are there and supporting. It’s really good to feel that as a player.”
For a so-called non-traditional hockey city like Columbus, Modin agrees with those that applaud the energy and excitement of the fans and community surrounding the Blue Jackets, starting with those that followed the team back in the first playoff season.
“Leading up to Christmas that year, we started feeling that we were playing well. The buzz around town, it’s something that as a player you can feel,” Modin said. “We started to have sellouts earlier in the season, and going into the Christmas break we had full houses. The crowd was crazy, and the fans were really behind us. That’s just something that you can feel change from the prior years.” of the fans and community surrounding the Blue Jackets, starting with those that followed the team back in the first playoff season.
After a long 14-year career where he played in six different cities throughout the NHL — including Toronto and Tampa Bay — Modin selected Columbus as his city to settle down in after retiring following the 2010-11 season.
Modin is a father of two (one son and one daughter), and he is an assistant coach for his son’s hockey team. He and his family spend most of their winters in the rink, and he can be found watching and supporting his daughter at her soccer games and tournaments in the spring and fall.
The Modin family has embraced Columbus and they're Blue Jackets fans, he said, and it was an exciting spring of hockey-watching in the Modin household.
“It’s been a lot of fun to follow these guys,” he said. “This team over the past few years has been through a lot of different personnel. I’m sure (fans) have heard the phrase ‘rebuild’ a lot, but with the new people coming in and what they’ve done with the team, I think as a fan it gives a sense of security.
“I think that it’s going to be a lot of fun to be a Blue Jackets’ fan for the next couple of years here, and going into the future. It really looks like they are building the right way; they have the right personnel at the right positions. There’s a lot of good young players coming up through the system...it kind of re-assures us as fans when you look at your young guys and see what they have done this year.”