Here are some quotes from Mike Modano as he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday at the Plaza of the Americas in Dallas.
On his induction and having the ceremony in Dallas
“Getting the call was great. Then they told me they were having it here and I was kind of shocked and taken aback that they picked Dallas to do it. It was great for them to pick this city and it meant a lot to me for them to feel that we’ve made this game popular enough in this town and down south for them to recognize me here.”
On his start in hockey
“My start in hockey was very much an accident. I wasn’t a big fan of the game, I didn’t know much about it. If you talked to my mom and dad, they would tell you they had a serious problem child. Spent many hours in detention and principals’ offices and grounded constantly and went through a handful of child psychiatrists. Still no answers, but I needed to find something to get my frustrations out. A friend of my dad suggested we get into hockey, so he took me skating one day and my demeanor and my attitude changed instantly. That started my hockey life.”
On playing for USA Hockey
"I didn't know the impact it had until I went to Moscow in 1987 to play in the World Junior Championship and see the impact, internationally, that we had and how people viewed American hockey players. That perception they had about us, we were so young at the time that we wanted to change that perception they had about us. It was almost like the Europeans didn't think we belonged on their level. We always wanted to prove to other countries that we could play with anyone. It took a long time and it took the growth of hockey in the United States. But in the back of our minds we felt we could always prove a lot of people wrong.”
On winning gold at the World Cup of Hockey in 1996
“That was the best team and most talented bunch of guys that I’ve ever seen and played with. Hands down for me and probably Lou (Lamoriello), who was the GM at the time, that was some of the best hockey we’ve ever seen.”
On playing for legendary coach Herb Brooks at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City
“A lot of his speeches before the game were pretty funny. We enjoyed his humor. He was a great motivator the way he spoke, got excited about the game and how he felt about American hockey and being American. He’d come in before the games looking like Kurt Russell with the outfit on and have the whole throwback suit and coat on. He would kind of rant and rave about us being Americans and what an exciting time and opportunity this would be for us to make an impact on the game. Then he would walk out and we’d look at each other like, what’s the game plan? What are we supposed to do and how are we supposed to beat the Russians and the Canadians? He just kind of left that up to us, so we’d go through some plays and talk about the power play and (Chris) Chelios would talk about what we would do on the penalty kill. Then we would go meet him on the bench. It was a great experience. He was a pretty passionate guy and we loved it.”
On his meetings with the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota North Stars prior to the 1988 NHL Draft
“The first visit was to Vancouver. Brian Burke was there, Pat Quinn. I fly in, they send me a limo that takes me to my hotel. Tony Tanti comes to my hotel, takes me out to Vancouver as a 17-year-old and we had a lot of fun. I called my parents and said, ‘I love Vancouver.’ The next day we go out on a boat, tour around Vancouver Island, having beers and smoking cigars with Pat Quinn as a 17-year-old and I was like, if this is the NHL, I am going to become a Canuck.
“Then (Minnesota GM) Lou Nanne calls me and says we need you in Traverse City. I’m like why I am going to go to Traverse City, Michigan? I’ve been there before. There’s nothing there. He says, ‘We’re having their scouting meetings here, the ownership is here and we want to make sure we make the right choice.’ So I walk into the hotel resort, check in and we have some breakfast. He explains what the situation is going to be like when I walk into this conference room. It was a lot like Roger Clemens being grilled at the Senate hearing about steroids. They lined up and asked me about what kind of player you are, what can you do for our city and what can you do for our team? I don’t know. I have no idea, but I think if you do choose me, you won’t be disappointed.”
On the impact of the Stars coming to Dallas in 1993
"We never really felt in our heart of hearts that hockey would move down here and thrive like it has and turn into one of the more successful Sun Belt teams in the league. It's been a remarkable transition the way the game has increased down here. I’m proud being part of that, being on the ground level and watching it evolve and the popularity increase. It was great to see and be part of it.”