Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We are the North Star Green Preservation Society...

In the fall of 2008, I decided to type "Minnesota North Stars" into the search box on Facebook. The results yielded a few groups, but no official "fan page."

So I made one.

It was pretty bare bones. I lifted the cleanest North Stars logo I could find from a Google image search. I dressed it up with stolen internet photos of an assortment of North Stars greats and fan favorites. I invited a few of my friends to become fans. And, in due time, forgot about the page.

When I checked in a few weeks later, I was surprised to see the page had accrued well over 100 fans, many eager to share nostalgia. From this point on, I kept tabs on the page periodically, always impressed at its rate of growth.

Fast forwarding to last week... I checked in for the first time in months. I noticed there were well over 13,000 fans and people were adding comments, photos, and videos daily. Knocked me flat on my ass! A couple fans had plugged an upcoming promotional appearance at the Ridgedale mall by North Stars legend Brian Bellows. I decided to help out by making an official announcement to all the fans of the page. The comments sections of those posted exploded with enthusiasm. I was hooked again.

In the week since I checked up, the page has gained another 1,000+ fans. Like a proud father, I set about trying to find new ways to add to the page and to spark more conversation about our beloved, departed Stars. I searched Facebook for official (and unofficial) fan pages for as many former North Stars as I could think of, and linked the results to my page.

Mike Modano was the biggest and easiest page to find. As the NHL's lone remaining North Star - and perhaps the greatest American-born player of all time - it would have been shocking to not find a Modano page. Almost equally shocking, though, was not finding pages for the other great names in North Stars history. No Neal Broten. No Bill Goldsworthy. No Dino Ciccarelli or Brian Bellows. No Basil McRae or Shane Churla. No Cesare Maniago. No Bobby Smith.

After Modano, the greatest ex-North Star I found a page for was goalie Don Beaupre. I also found pages for Hall of Famers Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy, who came here from the Washington Capitals in the Ciccarelli trade (although their best years came in other uniforms). I found pages for former coaches Bob Gainey and Herb Brooks (the Brooks page actually being for his foundation, but that's just as good). I found a page for 1980 Team USA goalie Jim Craig, who briefly played for the Stars in the early '80s. And I found pages for tail-end era North Stars Richard Matvichuk, Todd Elik, and Mike McPhee, all better known for their contributions to other teams.

So, last night I set about creating my first fan page for an individual player. The first choice was my favorite player, iconic goon Basil McRae. I posted it to the North Stars page and by the time I woke up this morning there were over 100 Basil fans. I asked (as if I even needed to) who should be the next player honored with his own page. Ok... stupid question. Clearly, it's Mr. Neal Broten. So, I made that page this morning. Again, there are already over 100 fans as I write this tonight.

So, this is real. Clearly, memories of the North Stars run deep throughout the upper Midwest. Sure, we have been partially healed in the ten years since the Minnesota Wild debuted - and I am as big of a Wild fan as anyone. But there is something about the North Stars... from the uniforms and logo, to the personalities, to the green, gold, and white seats at the Met Center... that the Wild can never replace.

This is us. We are the North Star Green Preservation Society.

We will never forget. We will share our stories. We will reminisce. And, of course, we will create unofficial fan pages on Facebook for as long as we can.