– The Red Wings rolled out the welcome mat for their new acquisition Friday morning.
General manager Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill met Mike Modano and his wife, Willa Ford, who arrived at Detroit Metro Airport just before noon. After playing his entire 20-season NHL career with the Dallas Stars organization, Modano agreed to a one-year contract to play for the Red Wings earlier in the week.
Modano, who grew-up in suburban Detroit and attended Franklin High School in Livonia, said that he is thrilled by the opportunity to return home and play in front of family and friends, especially his parents, Michael and Karen.
“Obviously, they’re very excited to see me back,” Modano said. “And if this happens to be my last year than they want to be able to watch my last year of hockey, so they’re excited to have that opportunity with a lot of friends and family that will be able to watch me more often than they were able to when I was in Dallas.”
The NHL’s all-time leading American-born scorer was asked about the number that he’ll wear with the Red Wings. He had worn No. 9 throughout his playing career, but that number has been out of circulation since Gordie Howe retired.
“I wanted No. 6, but they told me about Larry Aurie,” said Modano, referring to Aurie, who played between 1927-39, and had his number retired by former Wings owner James Norris.
“I thought it would be easy to just flip 9 to 6,” Modano said. “I would have loved 6, but maybe 90.”
Modano would be the first Wing to wear No. 90. Only four other numbers in the nineties have been worn by Wings -- 91 (Sergei Fedorov), 93 (Johan Franzen
), 95 (Danny Markov) and 96 (Tomas Holmstrom