Minnesota North Stars
eeco1967/68: With the NHL doubling from six to 12 teams, Minnesota, the capital of hockey in the USA was an obvious choice for one of the six new expansion teams. Named North Stars for their state motto “Etoile du Nord,” which is French for Star of the North, the team took the ice for the first time on October 15th, losing to the expansion California Seals on the road. Six days later, with workers still installing the seats at the Met Center in Bloomington, the North Stars played the Seals to a 3-3 tie in their first home game. Midway through the season, the Stars wherein the running for first place in the all expansion Western Division. However, tragedy struck on January 13th when Bill Masterton struck his head on the ice during a home game against the Seals; he would die from his injuries two days later. Masterton, a career minor leaguer, would have an annual award named after him awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Initially shaken by the loss of their teammate, the North Stars lost six straight games. However, they would recover to make the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a record of 27-32-15. In the playoffs, the North Stars found themselves in a quick hole, losing the first two games to the Kings in Los Angeles. After winning the next two games at home, the Stars had their backs to wall losing 3-2 in LA. The Stars would again hold their ground at home, forcing a seventh game with an overtime win. In Game 7 back in Los Angeles, the Stars erupted for nine goals to advance to the Western Finals. In the Western Finals, the North Stars and St. Louis Blues would battle back and forth to a seventh game before the Blues advance to the finals with a win in double overtime in a draining series with four overtime games.
1968/69: After a run to the Western Division Finals in their first season, the North Stars were a major disappointment in their second season, finishing in last place with a record of 18-43-5. Despite the struggle, Rookie Danny Grant would have a sold season winning the Calder Trophy with 34 goals and 31 assists.
1969/70: The North Stars continued to struggle in their third season, posting a record of 19-35-22. However, in the Western Division, it would land them in third place, earning a playoff berth. In the playoffs, it would be a quick exit as they were beaten by the St. Louis Blues in six games.
1970/71: With rookie Jude Drouin leading the team in soaring, the North Stars make the playoffs by finishing in 4th place in a roller-coaster season that saw them finish with a record of 28-34-16. In the playoffs, the North Stars would upset the St. Louis Blues in six games to reach the cross-division semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. The Stars and Canadiens would split the first four games before the Canadiens took control with a 6-1 win in Game 5. Needing to win Game 6 at home to force a seventh game, the North Stars trailed the Canadiens late 3-2, pulling their goalie for an extra attacker. As time wound down, it appears as if Ted Hampson had tied the game with a last-second goal. However, before the puck passed the goal line, the buzzer had sounded, and the green light had gone on, meaning the goal would no count, and the game was over.
1971/72: Coming off their run to the semifinals, the North Stars would post their first winning record, finishing in second place with a record of 37-29-12. However, in the playoffs, the North Stars would be beaten by the St. Louis Blues in six games, while losing 4four straight after taking the first two games at home.
1972/73: With Dennis Hextall leading the team with 82 points, the North Stars would put together another solid season finishing in third place with a record of 37-30-11. In the playoffs, the North Stars would make another first-round exit losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in six games.
1973/74: Despite stellar seasons from Bill Goldsworthy and Dennis Hextall, the North Stars would struggle all season finishing in sixth place with a disappointing record of 23-38-17. Following the season in which the North Stars missed the playoffs for the first time in four years, Gump Worsley, the last goalie to play without a mask or helmet, would retire.
1974/75: In the first season of Divisional play, the North Stars are placed in the Smythe Division, where their struggles continued as they missed the playoffs for the second straight season finishing in fourth place with a record of 23-50-7.
1975/76: The North Stars continue to struggle, missing the playoff for the third year in a row while finishing in 4th place with a horrible record of 20-53-7. The lone bright spot would be rookie Tim Young who led the team in scoring while becoming a finalist for the Calder Trophy.
1976/77: Tim Young continued to improve scoring a team-high 95 points as the North Stars made the playoffs after a three-year absence with a record of 23-39-18. However, it the playoffs the North Stars would make a quick exit as they were dominated by the Buffalo Sabres losing two straight games by a combined 11-2 score.
1977/78: The North Stars were among several teams in finical trouble as they finished in last place with a league worse 18-53-9 record. Following the season, the North Stars would merge with another struggling franchise, the Cleveland Barons. Nothing would change for North Stars as the team’s logo and colors remained the same. However, there would be new ownership and new management as Barons General Manager Harry Howell assumed the coaching duties. Barons owner George Gund now becomes a co-owner of the North Stars.
1978/79: Another result of the merger would see the North Stars shift to the Adams Division, where the Cleveland Barons had played. However, not much else would change as the North Stars finished in last place, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years with a record of 28-40-12. Along the way, Bobby Smith would capture the Calder Trophy with 30 goals and 44 assists.
1979/80: With Al MacAdam, who joined the team with Cleveland Barons’ merger leading the team in scoring with 93 points, the North Stars post their first winning record in seven years, finishing in third place with a record of 36-28-16. In the playoffs, the North Stars would explode for 17 goals as they swept the Toronto Maple Leafs in three straight games. Facing the four-time Stanley Cup Champions Montreal Canadiens in the second round, the North Stars got off to a quick start winning the first two games in Montreal. However, the Canadiens would rally to win the next three games. Facing elimination, the North Stars would score five goals to force a seventh game where they would stun the Canadiens 3-2 to earn a trip to the semifinals. In the semis against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Stars won a Game 1 shoot out 6-5 in Philadelphia. However, the Flyers would roar back to win the next four games scoring seven goals in Games 2 and Game 5.
1980/81: Coming off their trip to the semifinals, the North Stars posted another solid season finishing in third place with a record of 35-26-17. As the playoffs started, the Stars would get a boost as the University of Minnesota star Neil Broten joined the team fresh from winning the Hobey Baker Award and leading the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Finals. In the playoffs, the North Stars would score 20 goals as they swept the Boston Bruins in three straight high scoring games. The North Stars remained hot into the second round, where they jumped out to a 3-0 lead before beating the Buffalo Sabres in five games. In the semifinals, the Stars would face the surprising Calgary Flames. After splitting the first two games in Calgary, the North Stars outscored the Flames 13-8 in two straight wins at the Met Center to grab a 3-1 series lead. After dropping Game 5 at home, the Stars made into their first Stanley Cup Final by extinguishing the Flames 5-3 at the Met Center. However, in the finals, they would run into a buzz saw as they dropped the first three games to the New York Islanders before falling in five games.
1981/82: With the NHL realigning into a more geographical setting, the North Stars are placed in the Norris Division, where they would capture their first division title with a solid record of 37-23-20. However, in the playoffs, the North Stars would be stunned by the Chicago Black Hawks in four games.
1982/83: The North Stars continued to play solid hockey winning 40 games for the first time in franchise history led by Neal Broten and Bobby Smith, who each scored a team-high 77 points, as the Stars finished in second place with a 40-24-16 record. In the playoffs, the North Stars would knock off the Toronto Maple Leafs in four games to set up a Norris Division Finals showdown with Chicago Black Hawks. However, for the second year in a row, the Stars would be downed by the Black Hawks losing in five games.
1983/84: Led by Neal Broten, who had 61 assists, the North Stars would win their second Division title in three years with a solid 39-31-10 record. In the playoffs, the North Stars would finally down the Black Hawks beating Chicago in a hard-fought five-game series. In the Norris Finals, the North Stars found themselves in another war needing an overtime win in Game 7 to reach the Campbell Conference Finals. However, in the Campbell Finals, the Stars would be crushed by the Edmonton Oilers losing four straight games by a combined score of 23-10.
1984/85: Coming off their trip to the Campbell Conference Finals, the North Stars struggle to post a 25-43-12 record. However, it was good enough for the fourth place playoff spot in the Norris Division. However, in the playoffs, the North Stars would play their best hockey on the season as swept the St. Louis Blues in three straight games. However, in the Norris Finals, the Stars would be beaten by the Chicago Black Hawks in six games.
1985/86: Neal Broten becomes the first North Stars to score 100 points in a single season with 29 goals and 76 assists as the North Stars finish in second place with a 38-33-9 record missing out on first place by one point. However, in the playoffs, the North Stars would be upset by the St. Louis Blues in a hard-fought five-game series.
1986/87: With Neal Broten and Steve Payne missing half of the season due to injuries, the North Stars feel the pain and miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years with a disappointing record of 30-40-10 finishing last in the Norris Division.
1987/88: Under new Coach Herb Brooks who was best known for leading the 1980 US Olympic “Miracle on Ice” team, after a successful tenure at the University of Minnesota the North Stars continued to struggle as Neal Broten who played for Brooks in college and the Olympics was limited to 54 games as the North Stars finished in last place with a league worse 19-48-13 record. Following just one season, Brooks would be fired and replaced by Pierre Page.
1988/89: Despite posting a less than stellar 27-37-16 record, the North Stars make into the playoffs by finishing 3rd in a week Norris Division. However, as the season wound down top scorer, Dave Gagne would be lost to a knee injury missing the playoffs as the North Stars fell to the St. Louis Blues in five games.
1989/90: The North Stars would continue to play losing hockey as they posted a record of 36-40-4. However, by finishing in fourth place, they would sneak into the playoffs where they would be beaten by the Chicago Blackhawks in a seven-game series. With North Stars struggling to draw fans, co-owner George Gund expressed interest in moving the team to San Jose. However, the NHL wanted to keep its Minnesota presence. So the NHL announced it would dissolve the merger 1978 Cleveland Barons and allows Gund to move half the team, establishing an expansion team following the 1990/91 season, while the North Stars, were purchased by Norm Green, who was seen as the savior of North Stars Hockey.
1990/91: With uncertainty surrounding the North Stars, the team would get off to a slow start under new Coach Bob Gainey posting a 3-9-3 recurs in their first 15 games, playing in front of 5,000 fans at the Met Center. However, as the season wore on, the North Stars began to put the pieces together, acquiring Jim Johnson and Chris Dalquist and for the Pittsburgh Penguins for Larry Murphy to toughen the defense. As the second half started, the Stars started playing better hockey posting a 14-6-6 record from late January to March 17th. Although the North Stars finished with a less than stellar 27-39-14 record, they would sneak into the playoffs by finishing in fourth place. Entering the playoffs, the North Stars were ranked 15th of 16 teams, facing the Chicago Blackhawks who won the President’s Trophy. The Stars would get off to fast start stealing Game 1 in overtime. After four games, the series was tied at two games apiece when the North Stars stunned the Blackhawks with a 6-0 win in Chicago to take a 3-2 series lead. With a chance to complete the upset at home, the North Stars beat the Blackhawks 3-1 in Game 6. In the Norris Finals, the North Stars faced the St. Louis Blues, who had the second-best record in the NHL and continued to play solid hockey, grabbing a 3-1 series lead. After dropping Game 5 in St. Louis, the North Stars completed the upset with a 4-2 win in game 6 to move on to the Campbell Conference Finals. In the Conference Finals, the North Stars faced the defending Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers, splitting the first two games on the road. As the series shifted to Minnesota, the North Stars exploded, scoring 15 goals in the next two games to grab a 3-1 series lead. In Game 5 in Edmonton, the North Stars Bobby Smith on a breakbeat Grant Fuhr to give the North Stars the lead for good, as they advanced to their second cup final with a 3-2 win. In the Stanley Cup Finals the North Stars were matched up against the Pittsburgh Penguins, after splitting the first two games in Pittsburgh the North Stars took a 2–1 series lead with a 3-1 win in front of a load sold-out crowd at the Met Center. However, the Penguins would recover to win the next three games as the North Stars ran out of gas, closing the series out in six games.
1991/92: Coming off their improbable trip to the Stanley Cup Finals the North Stars had to deal with losing several players to the expansion San Jose Sharks due to dissolution of the Cleveland Barons merger, while getting to select players in the expansion draft the North Stars still lost depth, stifling any momentum from the run to the finals. The North Stars would need to scramble just to make the playoffs holding the Toronto Maple Leafs off by three points while posting a 32-42-6 record. In the playoffs, the Not Stars looked poised for another run again as they jumped out o a 3-1 series lead over the first-place Detroit Red Wings. However, the Red Wings would shutout the Stars in the next two games to force a seventh game, which they won 5-2 to end, any hope of another magical run for the North Stars.
1992/93: When Norm Green first purchased the North Stars, he was thought of as the savior of Minnesota hockey. However, playing at the outdated Met Center, it was clear changes had to be made to keep the team afloat. Green asked the city of Bloomington to add 200 more seats to the 15,000-seat Met Center. However, when Bloomington balked Green sought other places for the North Stars to play. Although the Target Center in Minneapolis seemed like a viable alternative, Norm Green seemed unreceptive as if he wanted to move the team to another market. As the season wound down, the worst fear of North Stars fans would come through as it was announced the team would move to Dallas. As the talk of the move surrounded the team, the North Stars struggled down the stretch missing the playoffs while finishing in fifth place with a record of 36-38-10.
1993-2000: As the Met Center was demolished, the NHL immediately began efforts to bring the NHL back to Minnesota, home of the American Hockey Hall of Fame. However, before awarding a team to Minnesota, the NHL wanted a secure arena, and the state was slow to respond. Finally, the city of St. Paul agreed to finance the building of a new arena, and the NHL awarded the Twin-Cities in an expansion team, which would be called the Wild that began play in the year 2000.
©MMXIV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Minnesota North Stars or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on March 7, 2003. Last updated on February 3, 2014 at 12:10 am ET.