DALLAS -- The Stars won their first-ever game in Dallas on October 5, 1993.
Nineteen years and four months later, they're ready to begin their 20th-anniversary season. Mike Modano was there at the beginning, and the team announced Thursday that he's back.
Modano has been comfortable since retiring from the NHL in 2011, and maybe the biggest news to come out of the Stars' press conference was that he actually now has a job.
"Yeah, that's probably number one," Modano said, laughing. "I wasn't a big fan of working for a long time after I retired, so we're just going to ease back into it."
Modano's position is called executive advisor and alternate governor. It's a job specifically for him, and it's the culmination of Dallas Stars President Jim Lites' efforts to get Modano back in the organization.
"Mike's role is substantive," Lites said. "He goes on calls with me, has an office next door to mine, has a presence with us at all times."
Former goalie Marty Turco is also back. He will join the broadcast team for the pre- and post-game shows.
"All I get to do is talk about it on TV, so it will be a lot of fun," Turco said.
The NHL lockout was obviously not good for business, but the timing for the Stars' return is. The Dallas Cowboys season is over, the Mavericks are struggling this year, and it's been a quiet offseason for the Rangers. This is a big opportunity for the Stars.
"The timing could be right to get some fan base back," Modano said. "You hate to have labor issues, but it's a nice 10-year deal and we don't have to worry about it for another decade."
There's some unfinished business heading into Saturday's opener -- restricted free agent Jamie Benn is still negotiating a new contact.
"I'm on the phone quite a bit with Jamie over the last couple of days," said Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "We're working toward it."
The Stars have extra incentive to sign Benn -- they want this season to be extra special.