Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Minnesota North Stars (NHL)

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

Top Surnames

view all

Profiles

  • Tom Williams (1940 - 1992)
    Thomas Mark "Tommy, The Bomber" Williams (April 17, 1940 – February 8, 1992) was the first American ice hockey player to regularly play in the National Hockey League since the retirement of Frank Bri...

The Minnesota North Stars were a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 26 seasons, from 1967 to 1993. The North Stars played their home games at the Met Center in Bloomington, and the team's colors for most of its history were green, yellow, gold and white. The North Stars played 2,062 regular season games and made the NHL playoffs 17 times, including two Stanley Cup Finals appearances. In the fall of 1993, the franchise moved to Dallas, Texas, and is now known as the Dallas Stars.

Franchise merger

By 1978 the North Stars had missed the playoffs in five of the previous six seasons. Attendance had tailed off so rapidly that the league feared that the franchise was on the verge of folding. At this point, Gordon and George Gund III, owners of the equally strapped Cleveland Barons, stepped in with an unprecedented solution—merging the North Stars with the Barons. While the North Stars were the surviving team, the Gunds became majority owners of the merged team, and the North Stars moved from the then-five team Smythe Division to assume the Barons' place in the Adams Division (which would otherwise have been left with only three teams) for the 1978–79 season. The recently retired Nanne was named general manager, and a number of the Barons players – notably goaltender Gilles Meloche and forwards Al MacAdam and Mike Fidler – bolstered the Minnesota lineup. Furthermore, Minnesota had drafted Bobby Smith, who would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie that year, and Steve Payne, who himself would go on to record 42 goals in his second campaign in 1979–80.

Franchise Split

After 1984, the franchise would only have one more winning season in Minnesota, in 1985-86. Seemingly, the franchise hit bottom in 1987-88, when it won only 19 games, still the second-fewest wins in franchise history. However, the Norris Division was so weak that year (only the Red Wings finished with a winning record) that the North Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs were fighting it out for the last playoff spot from the division on the last day of the season despite having the two worst records in the league. In those days, the four top teams in each division made the playoffs, regardless of record. A loss to the Calgary Flames not only kept the North Stars out of the playoffs, but assured them of the worst record in the league. While the late 1980s saw the franchise draft what would turn out to be their greatest player – forward Mike Modano – chronic attendance problems spurred the owners to threaten to move the club to the San Francisco Bay Area, against the league's wishes.

The NHL instituted a compromise for the 1990–91 season whereby the Gund brothers were awarded an expansion team in the Bay Area, the San Jose Sharks, that would receive players via a dispersal draft with the North Stars. A group previously petitioning for an NHL team in the Bay Area, led by Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg, bought the North Stars as part of the deal. Baldwin and Belzberg purchased the team from the Gund brothers for approximately $38.1 million (including $1 million in liabilities as well as giving the Gunds their share of the fees from the next three expansion teams, expected to be $7.14 million). Norman Green, a last-minute newcomer to Baldwin and Belzberg's group, purchased 51% controlling interest in the North Stars from them, with Baldwin and Belzberg sharing the remaining 49% stake in the team. Green agreed to purchase Baldwin's 24.5% share, giving him more than 75% control of the team shortly after a dispute with Baldwin arose. Belzberg maintained his share of the rest of the team's stock until October 1990, when Green became the team's sole owner by buying Belzberg's shares.