Welcome to SB Nation NHL’s “Mad On-Line” series, where we find something trivial the hockey world is mad about and tell you whether you should be, too. Usually the answer is no. Spoiler alert.
The relationship between the two fan bases is passive-aggressive at best, and outright mean at worst. Minnesota, the self-proclaimed “State of Hockey,” has never quite gotten over its North Stars leaving for North Texas in 1993.
Who can blame them? The Stars went on to have a decade-plus of success with a Stanley Cup win tossed in before the Wild came into the picture. And don’t think Stars fans don’t love letting Wild fans know about it whenever they can. I’m guilty of it. We all make trolling tweets we regret.
But it’s never been clear whether the franchises themselves care about that shared history as much as the fans. Over the last few years, though, the Wild have tried to celebrate their history a few times. And that usually means pretending the North Stars are part of that history.
And now Stars fans are mad on-line.
See, those jerseys don’t belong to the Wild. They belong to the Dallas Stars. This isn’t the only time the Wild have done this.
When they hosted the Blackhawks in the Stadium Series last year, the Wild pulled these out for their alumni:
Hmm. At the time, I wrote that the Wild “stole” the Stars history from them for that game. I got flak for that. I was accused of bias. Which is fair! I am a noted Stars fan and Dallasite. Anything I write about the Stars deserves extra scrutiny.
But not as strongly, because there’s no reason for the Coyotes to wear Jets jerseys. But the Dallas Stars’ name still holds connections to their North Stars past. When the Stars moved to Dallas, they honored the North Stars’ retired numbers of Bill Masterton and Bill Goldsworthy.
They didn’t have to, but they did. Dallas has done a lot to keep the spirit and memory of the North Stars alive while keeping it connected to the current southern franchise.
Watching another team in another state wear those jerseys does feel like a violation. More importantly, though, it feels weird for the Wild. I get that the North Stars hold a special place in many fans’ hearts, but Minnesota is approaching 20 years with the Wild. Why ignore your own history?
That’s what it seems like every time the Wild decide to run out the North Stars legacy as if it belongs to them. It’s disingenuous and more than a little disrespectful to the fans who grew up watching the Wild and not those unfamiliar yellow-and-green uniforms. Not to mention the loyal fans in Dallas who fell in love with Neal Broten, Mike Modano and other North Stars who turned hockey into a thing in Big D.
I guess it matters more to fans than the teams, since the Stars don’t make any public statements about these things. But ... c’mon. Just leave it alone, Wild.
That North Stars legacy left Minnesota and kept growing in Texas two decades ago. You’ve got a Wild legacy of your own to keep cultivating. Embrace it, nurture it, celebrate it, and everyone will be happy.