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Modano helps Make-A-Wish for youngster

by Staff Writer / Dallas Stars

September 30, 2003

By J. Douglas Foster

Mike Modano helped make the dreams of many Stars fans come true in 1999, when he helped lead Dallas to the franchise's only Stanley Cup victory.

But off the ice, he knows how to make dreams come true as well. He proved that yet again Tuesday at the Dr Pepper StarCenter.

In conjunction with the "Make-A-Wish" Foundation -- which works to grant the favorite wish of any child between the ages of two and a half and 18 who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. -- Modano helped fulfill such a wish as he skated, shot pucks and took photos with 14-year-old Michael Salvatore of Plano.

Not only did Modano offer Salvatore a little one-on-one time on the ice, but the two also stood into together for interviews, and Modano closed the day by giving Salvatore a tour of the Stars' locker room complex at their new practice facility, the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in Frisco.

"We had a nice little chitchat, shot a few pucks. ...Just working on our game," Modano said. "Now we'll take him in and meet some of the guys, let him see our nice little Country Club setup in here."

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas said Michael was "very clear" about what he wanted as his one wish. He just wanted to play one-on-one with Modano, one of the world's most skilled hockey players.

It was certainly a step up for Salvatore, who said he hasn't been able to practice the game lately. He also normally plays roller hockey, so dealing with the heavier rubber puck, he said, took some adjustment.

He didn't, however, look out of place next to the world-class center.

"I thought it was great," Salvatore said. "I just wish I had my bald head back so I would be more aerodynamic."

For Modano, the day was a testament to the impact he can have on young fans, as well as an opportunity to meet one of those fans and his family personally.

But more than that, it was just a great opportunity to spend some time with a witty, positive-minded Salvatore -- who proved he could not only tell a good joke, but also had plenty of respect for his hockey hero.

"It's great to meet a young guy as well-mannered as he is," Modano said. "He's just a nice guy who is enjoying life. He carries himself very well for a young man."

By day's end, Salvatore felt the same about Modano.

"I'll probably remember Mr. Modano the most," Salvatore said. "He's even nicer than I expected."

Modano's hospitality certainly was no surprise to the members of the Make-A-Wish foundation.

"We have always had a great relationship with Mike Modano and the Dallas Stars and they have created numerous magical Dallas Stars' Wishes for our kids," said Barry Smink, president/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of North Texas.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas has granted more than 2000 wishes since its inception in 1982.

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