Modano elated about NHL Hall of Fame selection

Mike Modano is now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, earning the nod in his first year of eligibility.

Mike Modano is now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, earning the nod in his first year of eligibility.

It's official. Mike Modano is now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The iconic Dallas Stars center and face of the franchise learned early Monday afternoon that he would be inducted in November in this, his first year of eligibility.

Modano's good news after a tough morning for the local sports heavyweight after he attended a memorial service for former local sportswriter Richard Durrett, who tragically passed away last Tuesday.

Durrett covered the Stars regularly for several outlets and had developed a close relationship with No. 9, which made the Monday morning memorial service at a Dallas church tough for Modano.

"It was tough because I just left Richard's funeral and five minutes after that, I got a call. It's been a whirlwind of emotions to say the least for this morning with Richard's situation was just devastating," Modano said. "It was really hard to put into words. I think as far as hockey goes, there's nothing else more to do. That pretty much ends it right there."

The first overall pick in the 1988 NHL Draft by the Minnesota North Stars, Mo spent all but one of his 22 seasons, his final one, with the franchise. He finished his iconic career as the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history and as one of the key contributors of Dallas' 1999 Stanley-Cup winning team, he was a driving force in the sport truly taking hold in Big D only six years after the team decided to move south from Minnesota.

And no matter what he's accomplished in the game, Modano has always remained the same humble and affable kid from Michigan who was truly doing what he loved in life, playing his favorite sport.

But the fact he got to spend the bulk of his career with an organization he has a great amount of affection for definitely is something else he takes immense pride in.

"Twenty-one years with Dallas and Minnesota, I really couldn't have asked for more of a storybook type career just from start to finish," Modano said on Monday at American Airlines Center. "For the game to be where it's at down here, you feel that you have a little bit of input and impact in how it's turned around here. One thing I always wanted to do was retire a Dallas Star. I was fortunate to come back and do that."

However, Modano isn't the only player who will be inducted into the game's hallowed halls in November. Longtime NHL defenseman Rob Blake, superstar scorer Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek, the former Sabres and Red Wings goaltender, will also be inducted.

And Modano feels like he's in pretty distinguished company to be going in alongside three such heavy hitters in hockey circles.

"All three of those guys were fierce competitors. Rob and I were drafted in '88. You think back to the great playoff series we had with Denver and Peter and obviously Buffalo with Dominik and Detroit, just three guys that were tough guys to play against," Modano said. "In the end, I think we made each other better as our careers went on."

Modano becomes the third member of that '99 Stars team to be inducted, joining former Dallas goaltender Ed Belfour and 1999 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Joe Nieuwendyk, both of whom were inducted in 2011 with Belfour going in on the first ballot.