It didn't take long for new Dallas Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis to get involved in the community. Hamhuis capped off his first week in Dallas by heading out to the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Euless to skate with Rookie Girls, hand out graduation certificates and pose for pictures.
"I love doing that. I spend time with kids during the summer doing hockey schools," Hamhuis said. "It's no different whether it is in Canada or Dallas. It is exciting to see the smiles on the kids' faces when they are out on the ice. For some of them, it was their first time, and it's such a fun sport, I want to see more and more people involved."
Almost 30 girls between the ages of 4 and 12 were part of the inaugural Rookie Girls class in Euless. Hamhuis brought his family - wife Sarah and daughters Anna, Morgan, and Brooke - to Saturday's event. All three of his daughters skated during the 30-minute session.
"Our oldest has played hockey the past couple years, so she knew what she was doing out there," Hamhuis said. "The other two have been skating but haven't played before. I was excited for them to have their first chance to play hockey in full gear."
Hamhuis and his family's arrival in Dallas from Vancouver, where he has played the past six seasons, coincided with the girls starting school, which began last Monday.
"[The girls] have done well. The transition has gone well for them," Hamhuis said. "They've all got really nice teachers, and they are going to a great school. I think they are excited about the change, what's new and what's ahead of them."
For Hamhuis, a British Columbia native, and Sarah, the move to Dallas will bring some change as well, but living in the southern U.S. is something they've experienced before. Hamhuis played his first six NHL seasons in Nashville.
"We absolutely loved it there and coming down to Texas now we can see the similarities," he said. "It's a culture we really enjoy and we are excited to start to become involved in the community."
The Stars signed the 33-year-old Hamhuis, who was an unrestricted free agent, to a two-year contract at $3.75 million per season on July 1. He'll bring veteran presence and a strong defensive game to the Dallas blue line.
"He's the consummate pro. He's going to add a lot of stability to our blue line," said Stars center Jason Spezza . "He plays the right way, he takes care of himself and he is going to be a great example for some of the young defensemen we have. He's going to be a really good fit to our team. He's going to be similar to a Johnny Oduya , very good defensively but can still move the puck. An everyday pro."
"I've known him very well over the past 12 years. We've played a lot internationally together. Our wives are friends. I was pretty happy to see us sign him."
Hamhuis has talked a little with Stars coach Lindy Ruff, but he said it's a little early to start talking about defense pairs. The veteran blue liner just wants to bring consistency and a defensive game to the Dallas lineup. There's been a lot of speculation that he could be paired with John Klingberg and he said if that's the case, he'll try to take care of the backend to complement Klingberg's offensive ability.
"Certainly a possibility of being paired with him. He's got some incredible skill and talent," Hamhuis said. "If it does work out that we play together, I just hope to be able to support him and allow him to have the confidence to keep making those plays."
Hamhuis is familiar with the Stars' most recent signing - veteran forward Jiri Hudler . GM Jim Nill signed Hudler to a one-year, $2 million contract last week. Hamhuis has played against Hudler a lot over the years.
"It's incredible the amount of depth we have up front. Jiri brings more skill to an already skilled group," Hamhuis said. "He's really hard to play against and check. He's a smart player, and he knows how to use the players around him. He knows the game. It will be great to have him in the room as a veteran presence. He's been on a lot of great teams. It's a great addition."
The Stars are already starting to hold some informal skates in Frisco and Hamhuis has taken part in some of them, getting to know some of his new teammates and getting familiar with the new facilities. And he and his new teammates are excited to get the 2016-17 season going.
"The Dallas Stars are in an exciting spot right now. This is a team that is in a position to win. I am excited to be a part of that," Hamhuis said. "There's a good vibe around the rink. Guys are excited, and I think guys know the opportunity that sits in front of us. Personally, it's great to be in a position like this in my career right now. Yeah, it's a good vibe around the room."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.