During the 1990s, there was a torch that was coincidentally passed from a team in Canada down to the NHL’s team in Texas.
It was like the Montreal Canadians funneled former players to the Dallas Stars.
One of those guys went on to coach and become general manager in Dallas.
Decades later, we continue to remember and celebrate that Montreal/Dallas connection of champions.
GM Bob Gainey
Five-time Stanley Cup champ as a skater with the Canadians, Bob Gainey was arguably the most decorated player from one of the NHL’s greatest dynasties: the Canadians of the 1970s. He also won the Selke trophy for the best defensive forward.
Among the inaugural class of the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame, Gainey built the best team in franchise history. After missing the playoffs in 1996, Gainey stepped away as a coach and became the team’s general manager. Having Ken Hitchcock take over as coach and building a team that would get him his fifth overall Stanley Cup ring. Gainey was with the Stars until 2002.
Here we have the most overlooked guy on this list; Mike Keane—a three-time Stanley Cup champ with three different teams.
Winning the silver holy grail with the Habs in 1993 (whom he temporarily captained in 1995), the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, and of course, Dallas in that magical ’99 season.
Keane was best known for his physical play, such as dropping the gloves and entertaining Stars fans.
Not to mention standing up for teammates on the ice. Guys like Keane aren’t the first who most fans think of in Stanley Cup rosters. But it’s guys doing the dirty work that every team wants in their lineup.
Another all-time great defensive forward Dallas got from the Montreal pipeline was Guy Carbonneau. A three-time winner of the Selke trophy (1988, 1989, 1992) is best known for slowing down the great Wayne Gretzky in the 1993 Stanley Cup finals. As the old saying goes, defense wins championships. He won two of them with the Canadians.
In Dallas, Carbonneau would win his third ring. He was further solidifying his NHL Hall of Fame career. One could say that Carbonneau was another coming of former Canadian great Gainey. With his 200-foot game, and you add the fact that Gainey was in the front office while Carbonneau was on the ice—a win-win for the Stars.
Arguably the fan favorite on this list, Craig Ludwig, was another multi-Cup winning Hab to venture down to the lone star state. After winning two rings in his time in Montreal, Luds would play with the New York Islanders for one season in 1991 before signing with the Minnesota North Stars in 1992.
The franchise he played his final eight NHL seasons with. He was retiring after Winning ring number three with the Stars.
Ludwig was a fan favorite with Dallas fans due to his physical play, shot-blocking, and his connection to the legendary metal band Pantera.
Everything about the playing career of Luds was big: big hits, big shin pads, a big personality, and a big championship resume that not only included three Stanley Cups but also was a two-time champion in the NCAAs with the University of North Dakota.
Photo: Dallas Morning News