Hours after getting his first head coaching job in the NHL, Adam Oates learned he's heading to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Oates, a 19-year NHL veteran who spent parts of six seasons with the Capitals, is one of four members of the Hockey Hall of Fames class of 2012, the Hall announced today. Oates will become the sixth former Capital to be inducted in the Hall of Fame at the 2012 Induction Celebration on Nov. 12 in Toronto.
Oates, who was named the 16th head coach in Washington Capitals history earlier today, and Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure are this years honorees in the player category. Oates appeared in 1,337 games and collected 1,420 points (341 goals, 1,079 assists) with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. In the NHL history only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux averaged more assists per-game than Oates. During the 1990s only Gretzky (662) recorded more assists than Oates (636).
The Weston, Ontario, native ranks sixth all-time in assists and 16th all-time in points in NHL history. Oates ranks 25th in NHL history in playoff points, having recorded 156 points (42 goals, 114 assists) in 163 career playoff games. The former center led or was tied for the league lead in assists three times in his career (1992-93, 2000-01 and 2001-02) and ranked in the top-10 in assists in 12 of his 19 seasons. Oates was named an NHL All-Star five times (1991-94 and 1997) and was a six-time Lady Bing finalist during his career (runner-up in four straight seasons).
Oates played in 387 games for the Capitals from 1996-2002, compiling 363 points (73 goals, 290 assists). He ranks 18th in scoring and 10th in assists among all players in the Capitals history. Wearing No. 77 for the Capitals, Oates was an alternate captain during the 1997-98 season before serving as the teams captain from 1999-01 campaign.
Oates joins Mike Gartner (2001), Rod Langway (2002), Larry Murphy (2004), Scott Stevens (2007) and Dino Cicarrelli (2010) as Capitals in the Hockey Hall of Fame. In addition, radio voice Ron Weber and former Washington Times beat writer Dave Fay are also enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.