Sunday morning, as Adam Oates began taking part in the festivities surrounding his induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, he had about 25 friends and family members along with him for the experience. By the time he received his honored member jacket from Hall of Fame officials and took part in the Legends Classic game at Air Canada Centre in Toronto Sunday afternoon, the number swelled to 40.
Oates is from nearby Weston, Ontario, which sits just a little more than 11 miles away from the Hall of Fame building where he will be enshrined along with Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure and Mats Sundin Monday at 7:30 p.m. The proximity makes it easy for all of them to attend and that’s important to Oates, who says the honor he’s receiving is just as much a testament to them as it is for him.
“It’s the ultimate compliment to your career, really it’s for them. I got to play this game for 19 years, for me it’s a way to say thank you to them,” Oates said. “It’s nice that part of the moment for me is the fact that it’s not just playing in the NHL. It’s your whole career. Playing in Toronto and all the teams I played on and all the people I played [with], to have an opportunity to share some of that with them is just a great feeling.”
Check out video of Oates’s portion of the pregame ceremony below. If you listen closely, just as Oates is putting the blazer on you can hear a fan scream, “Finally!”
• On the labor negotiation front, the NHL and NHLPA met in New York Sunday but it didn’t go well.
The two sides focused primarily on player contracting issues during a brief session and afterward NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said he doesn’t currently “see a path to an agreement” according to ESPN’s Katie Strang. Meanwhile, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Pierre LeBrun that there was “no progress” made in Sunday’s negotiation session.