Nine years after Adam Oates hung up his skates, the Hockey Hall of Fame has finally inducted the former Washington Capitals captain. In Toronto on Monday, in front of his mom, dad, wife Donna, George McPhee, and many others, Oates gave a stirring, eloquent, and totally unscripted speech, thanking the people who helped him in his career.

Hall of Famer Brett Hull, part of a video package about Oates aired before the introduction, called his former teammate “Gretzky-like” in his vision and passing skill. “Adam belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame because he’s one of the greatest players to play the game,” Hull said.

Oates made it through his most of his speech, which included personal thanks to Olie Kolzig and Calle Johansson, without getting emotional. But then he brought up his wife Donna and recalled his parents dedication and support throughout his childhood, and he couldn’t hold back the tears.

Oates has been compared to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux a bunch these last few days, and while that’s a controversial claim, there is one thing that is not debatable: Adam Oates was one of the best playmakers of all-time. He made everyone on the ice a better player. With him, the Capitals would not have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 98 and so many of the other players we loved growing up would have been deprived. Shame on the HHOF for inducting this man six years later than they should have.

Oates’ speech and a full transcript of his remarks are below the jump.

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Adam Oates Gets His Hockey Hall of Fame Ring and Jacket

By your powers combined… green hockey mullet! (Photo credit: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Busy weekend for Adam Oates. After co-coaching Hershey to a 2-1 loss to the Ice Caps on Saturday, the Washington Capitals head coach took the first plane out of Harrisburg to this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame ceremonies in Toronto. On Sunday, Oates received an “honored members (only) jacket” and then participated in the Legends Classic game at Air Canada Centre. Monday morning, after being read his Hall of Fame plaque by selection committee co-chair Pat Quinn, Oates received his HOF ring. ‘Grats, Adam!

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Former Capital Ken Klee is on the Hall of Fame Ballot

Adrian Dater (file photo)

Photo credit: Brian Bahr

As I was rifling through a few stories this weekend, one in particular by Avs beat writer Adrian Dater, caught my eye.

This year’s Hall of Fame ballot is filled with shoo-ins and recognizable names such as Brendan Shanahan, Mats Sundin, and former Capital Olie Kolzig. Dater used his article to wax poetic about one of my favorite players back in the day, longtime captain of the Avalanche, Joe Sakic.

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Pat Fay poses with a drawing of her late husband. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Way back in 1995 when I started fervently supporting the Washington Capitals, I got my news on the team from two sources: The Washington Post and The Washington Times. While the Post cycled through beat writers such as Rachel Alexander (who can now be seen on ESPN), Jason La Canfora, and Tarik El Bashir, you always knew what the byline would read on any Caps stories printed by the Times.

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