Mike Modano is excited to be back in the "State of Hockey" as the Minnesota Wild prepare to host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).
The former No. 1 pick of the Minnesota North Stars will play in the 2016 NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game on Saturday.
"Well, it's going to be nice being the youngest guy on the ice again," Modano, 45, said Thursday on "The Power Play" on SiriusXM Radio. "It's been awhile since that happened. Might have to wind it up once or twice."
When Modano retired in 2011 after one season with the Detroit Red Wings, the story is that he threw his bag into the corner of the locker room and left it there for a few days. He said he appreciates the opportunity to dust it off in preparation for this weekend.
"Yeah, I guess I didn't have any more use for it," Modano told hosts Scott Laughlin and Boomer Gordon. "So I zipped it up and threw it in the garage corner. … I figure I should try to skate here for a few weeks. Get out there a couple times before Saturday so I'm not too painfully obvious that I haven't skated in a while."
The North Stars, now Dallas Stars, selected Modano with the first pick of the 1988 NHL Draft. He spent four seasons in Minnesota, from 1989-1993, and had 123 goals and 309 points.
"There are so many guys from my early days and before me who are a big part of that North Stars history," Modano said. "It's going to be great to hook back up with a lot of those guys that were there at the start of my career, who established a little bit of a tradition, respect factor for the North Stars organization.
"I can't wait to get back to some of the guys that helped me along the way at the start of my career."
The North Stars relocated to Dallas in 1993. Modano, a 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, said he understood the importance of the relocation as Commissioner Gary Bettman looked to expand the game to nontraditional markets.
"I love my four or five years there that I was there and the fans and the people. I guess there's a lot of sentimental and emotional connection there because it was the start of my career in the NHL," Modano said. "Obviously, we left on tough terms. It was tough to pick up an organization, especially out of Minnesota, and move it. I think we were all taken by surprise by that decision and that move."
The Wild entered the NHL in 2000, but the North Stars maintained a place among Minnesota hockey fans.
"We always felt a strong connection, even when we went back to play," Modano said. "So many familiar faces and fans wearing the North Stars jerseys still that would watch a lot of the Wild and Stars games over the years."
Modano finished his career as the leader in NHL points among American-born players (1,374; 561 goals, 813 assists).
The alumni game will feature players from the Blackhawks, North Stars and Wild.
Among those joining Modano on the North Stars/Wild roster will be Dino Ciccarelli, who played his first nine NHL seasons with the North Stars. His 332 goals are second among North Stars players, and his 651 points are third.
Also on the roster are four members of the first Wild team in 2000-01: Wes Walz, Darby Hendrickson, Antti Laaksonen and Brad Bombardir. Walz, Hendrickson and Bombardir were captains that first season.