SCHUYLER DIXON,AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Stars are going green — something closer to the Minnesota green they wore before the NHL team moved to Texas 20 years ago.
The Stars unveiled a new logo on Tuesday with a redesigned jersey heavy on the green that retired franchise icon Mike Modano donned after the Minnesota North Stars made him the top overall draft pick in 1988.
Modano, who spent 20 of his 21 seasons with the franchise that drafted him, was wearing No. 9 again when the team celebrated the new look by announcing that his number will be retired when the Minnesota Wild visit Dallas on March 8.
“It’s a good color,” said Modano, the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history, who is now a franchise consultant. “No one else has it. That’s the way it was with the North Stars. It’s kind of unique and different. It shows good on TV. When you see it, you know it’s us.”
The Stars had a darker shade of green when they moved to Dallas in 1993, but drifted toward a base of black and white through the years. Now they have combined the two greens from their history to come up with what they are calling “Victory Green” — a choice made among more than 250 options considered.
The move back to the franchise’s Minnesota roots is coming with a bunch of other changes. The Stars have a new general manager in Jim Nill, who said Tuesday he is “very close” to naming a new coach after he fired Glen Gulutzan.
Under NHL realignment, Dallas will be in a division mostly with teams in the Central time zone for the first time. That means fewer of West Coast start times than they had in the Pacific Division.
The Stars also said they will hold training camp in nearby Fort Worth and play preseason games in San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
“Our organization is committed to growing the game of hockey across Texas, and partnering with Fort Worth is a first step in this endeavor,” team president Jim Lites said.
The logo is a nod to the franchise’s 20 years in Dallas because the star has a shape similar to the one that stood alone under “Dallas Stars” on the most popular jersey from the team’s Stanley Cup championship season in 1998-99.
On the front of the new jersey, a big “D” sits on top of the star, while the sleeves have the logo with “Dallas Stars” in a circle around it.
Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said the team considered Texas colors — particularly blue since it’s a prominent color for the other pro sports teams in the Dallas area — but decided too many NHL teams had some combination of red, white and blue.
“I think green was important because it was in our history and in our DNA,” Gaglardi said. “We were worried we would just blend in with so many other teams. We realized we had the ability to own our own color across the league.”
The new look coincides with the team trying to end an unprecedented five-year stretch without a trip to the playoffs. The Stars won a playoff series their first season in Dallas, but it took them about four years to become championship contenders.
There is more work to do this time, but Nill thinks that is a reasonable time frame. One of the centerpieces of the rebuilding effort, high-scoring forward Jamie Benn, was the other jersey model alongside Modano.
“We’re not as far away as people think,” Nill said. “But in today’s game, you’re not far away either way. I don’t think we’re far away, but we have some holes to fill, and if we don’t, we’re going to be farther away than we thought.”