“I am very proud of him,” Hull said. “He was a special player, and not too many guys that don’t score the goals and get all the highlights and everything get recognized. And it’s great for the game that he did.”
The Toronto native expected to have his parents in attendance for Monday night’s ceremony along with other family and friends. His induction, his speech, it’s all for them.
Oates mentioned no fewer than 34 people by name in his speech. He became emotional when it came time to thank his wife, Donna, and his parents, David and Loretta.
“I’d like to thank my friends and family, my wife Donna. I love you very much. We met near the end of my career; I wish we could’ve met a little bit sooner. You could’ve seen me when I was a little bit better,” Oates said. “Mom and Dad, I don’t know how you took me to all those games. You supported me, you encouraged me, helped me through the tough times and gave me the chance to live my dream. I know it’s not the easiest thing for our family, but I love you very much. Thank you. I’d never be here without you.”
Thanking so many in his five minutes on stage, a task he knew was impossible to perfect, Oates covered as much ground as possible. And while he was willing to credit everyone else, his former teammates and coaches know Oates also got himself to the Hall of Fame by not letting pitfalls stop him.
Oates‘ playing career began with a pair of Super Tacks skates his uncle bought him that he slept with the first night.
“I was one of those kids that played every single day, all day long, watched it, lived it, dreamed it and never stopped,” Oates said.