Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hall beckons North Stars legend

As avid fan of the NHL's Minnesota North Stars in the late 70s thru early 90s, I always look for any excuse to reminisce about said franchise.

Today would be as good a day as any.

The Hall of Fame committee just couldn't ignore his 600 goals any longer.

In his eighth year of eligibility, following years of disappointment after being assured, "this is your year," former North Stars goal scorer Dino Ciccarelli can finally add the words "Hall of Famer" in front of his name.

Ciccarelli, one of the greatest net crashers in NHL history, tried to stay busy Tuesday morning to keep his mind off the latest Hall of Fame selection in Toronto.

But when his cell phone flashed a "416" area code, Ciccarelli's heart sunk.

"You start getting so emotional thinking about this," said Ciccarelli, who ranks 16th in NHL history with 608 goals. "It makes you feel like a kid, makes you remember when I first got into the game. I'm very excited. I was hoping it would come."

In a career spanning 19 seasons, Ciccarelli spent his first nine years with the North Stars. As an upstart 21-year old in 1981, he was instrumental in helping the Stars reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. Even though they fell to the New York Islanders in five games, the North Stars knew they hasd a budding star. In just 32 games during that regular season, Ciccarelli tallied 30 points.

In 1989, after scoring 332 goals in a North Stars uniform, Ciccarelli was traded to the Washington Capitols for Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy.

Many surmise that Ciccarelli's off ice issues may have contributed to the delay in his enshrinement.

In 1987, he pleaded guilty to indecent exposure after going to get his newspaper in Eden Prairie without clothes. In 1988, he spent a few hours in a Toronto jail for hitting Luke Richardson over the head with his stick.

Ciccarelli has long been apologetic, saying he got himself into "pathetic situations."

I recall North Stars fans having some fun with Ciccarelli's "indecent exposure" incident. "Dino the dinosaur", an inflatable doll shaped like a dinosaur, was the unofficial mascot of Ciccarelli's most avid fans. In a subsequent home game, some snarky fans placed a pair of boxer shorts on the dinosaur and draped them around the dinosaur's ankles.

Despite tremendous individual success, Ciccarelli never reached his ultimate goal: A Stanley Cup championship.

"I would have loved to do that. I've seen it so many times. I've dreamed about handing the Cup off to my dad and drinking out of it," Ciccarelli said. "But this is probably the highest honor personally. This is so sweet in itself."


1 comment:

Palm boy said...

For the Record, I'm glad ya'll shipped the Stars to my are of Dallas.