Adam Oates made a Hall of Fame hockey career out of making other people look good.
During his Hall of Fame induction speech Monday night in Toronto, the former St. Louis Blues star stayed true to form by refusing to turn the spotlight on himself and his many accomplishments.
Oates was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure and Mats Sundin.
Oates spent nearly all of his time at the podium thanking everyone who had helped him along the way, from youth coaches to college coaches to the NHL players and coaches he worked with during a stellar 19-year career.
Near the end he also thanked his parents and wife, Donna, all of whom were present at the ceremony.
"You supported me, encouraged me, helped me through the tough times and you gave me a chance to live my dream," Oates told his parents during his speech. "Thank you. I'd never be here without you."
The 50-year-old Oates racked up 341 goals and 1,079 assists for 1,420 career points in 1,337 games over 19 NHL seasons. Though few realize it, Oates ranks 16th all-time among NHL scorers.
Not bad for a guy who wasn't even drafted and needed three years of college hockey to finally attract the attention of the Detroit Red Wings, who signed him as a free agent in 1985.
Oates joined the Blues in 1989, traded by Detroit to St. Louis along with Paul MacLean for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney.
Oates was with the Blues for only 195 games, but left a lasting mark because of his instant chemistry with former Blues star and fellow Hall of Famer Brett Hull.
Hull scored 212 goals during that time span, with Oates racking up 228 assists and 286 points while in St. Louis. Now the duo is together in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"Hullie I know you know how I feel about you --72 (goals), 86 (goals), 50 (goals) in 50 (games) -- it was an incredible time," Oates said Monday as the camera showed Hull seated near former Blue Kelly Chase in the auditorium. "You put me on the map; it was so, so special. I can't believe it was only three years because it felt like forever.''
The magic ended for the dynamic duo in February, 1992 when Oates was traded to Boston during a contract dispute.
"I played 19 years in the league and clearly, playing with Brett was the highlight of my career -- and the most fun at the same time," Oates said in a previous News-Democrat interview. "I can't believe it was only three years out of that 19, that blows my mind."
Hull still treasures their time together.
"The three years I had with Adam Oates are the most special to me," Hull said in a video on the Blues' web site. "Obviously the stats prove they were the most successful and prolific as well."
Oates, hired earlier this year as coach of the Washington Capitals, played for the Blues and six other NHL teams.
He helped make superstars out of Hull with the Blues and Boston's Cam Neely by becoming the eighth player in NHL history with at least 1,000 assists.
Both scored 50 goals in 50 games with Oates on their line.
During his speech, Oates mentioned former Blues Scott Stevens, Rick Zombo, Gino Cavallini, Chase and Sergio Momesso along with former Blues coach Brian Sutter.
"To them and many others I want to say thank you, I think we connected," Oates said. "You meant so much to me in my career."
Hull's eyes appeared a bit misty when Oates spoke about him. The same held true for former Bruins star, Oates teammate and Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.