Mike Modano still needs to pinch himself when told he'll be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in the city of Dallas.
"It was great call to get from [USA Hockey] but then they told me they were having it [in Dallas] and I was shocked and taken back that they wanted to pick Dallas to do it," Modano said. "It meant a lot for them to pick this city and for me to feel that we've made this town and the game popular enough for Texans and people down South to be recognized."
Modano received quite an ovation when introduced to the stage as one of the three U.S. Hall of Fame inductees on Monday by Master of Ceremonies Steve Levy.
"We never really felt in our heart of hearts that hockey would move down here and thrive like it has and, in the process, turn [the Dallas Stars] into one of the most successful franchises in the League," Modano said. "It's been a remarkable transition the way the game has changed in Dallas. It's been great watching the popularity and the way it has come together."
Modano closed out his 21-year career as the Stars' all-time leader in games played (1,459), goals (557), assists (802) and points (1,359). He also holds franchise records with 145 playoff points in a club-high 174 games. He remains the all-time leader among U.S.-born players in goals (561) and points (1,374).
"I was young at the time and really didn't think of any major goals, but I wanted to get drafted and then play in the League," Modano continued. "It's been great experience and, being so young, it helped a lot. We were able to educate the fans and we grew with the game. It's been a real relationship with the fans and the city. We all thought, 'This could be real exciting and unique at the same time.' "
Follow Mike Morreale at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Twitter at: @mike_morreale