On this day 29 years ago, paramedics dropped Mike Modano while loading him into the ambulance on a stretcher after he was knocked unconscious by a hit from Mark Messier

One of the risks of being a superstar in the NHL, especially before the recent emphasis on player protection, is that someone on the opposing team is always looking to take you out of the game.

Mike Modano was on the receiving end of such shots several times during his Dallas Stars career, the most notable being his encounter with Ruslan Salei and the end boards shortly after the Stars won the Stanley Cup.
Earlier in his career, in February of the Stars’ first season in Texas, he was hit in the head again by New York Rangers captain Mark Messier.

Messier, who is now developing helmets that reduce the risk of concussion, was a legitimate superstar at the time, but he was also known as a guy who would try anything to knock the other team’s star out of the game.
When he saw the young Modano with his head down cutting over the blue line, he came through with a nasty shot to the chin that popped Modano’s helmet off and left him unconscious along the boards for the next 10 minutes, according to the team doctor.

If it hadn’t been for a rather unfortunate incident while loading him into the ambulance, that hit might have simply gone down in the annals of “completely unpunished headshots from the 1990s” and faded from the memories of Stars fans.

The gurney, with Modano strapped to it in full spinal protection, was knocked askew somewhere along the line and took a slow topple to the left, landing on its side. I’m sure every Stars executive and fan cringed when they saw it (and every personal injury attorney in town started looking for Modano’s agent’s phone number), but Modano was unharmed, and it became something Stars fans still laugh about today.

And, of course, this is probably a clip that is shown during every EMT and paramedic training course as “How not to handle a stretcher.” To be fair to those guys, according to Modano, it was the Stars trainer who knocked the stretcher over.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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