Adam Oates 2024

Adam Oates

Well before he lit up NHL arenas, Hockey Hall of Famer Adam Oates was an Ontario Jr. A scoring sensation.  Prior to ‘Hull and Oates’ with the St. Louis Blues, it was the Adam Oates-Steve Thomas combo with the Markham Waxers of the then Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League.  During the 1981-82 campaign, Captain Oates led the OPJHL with 54 goals and 159 points, a league record. Thomas, another future NHLer, chipped in with 68 goals, fourth highest in league history, and 125 points.  The previous season, Oates’ first at the Jr. A level, he tallied 89 points (36 goals/53 assists) in 43 games with the Waxers. He was 19.  Paul Allen, assistant hockey coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, recruited Oates while, as legend has it, he was scouting another Waxers’ player.  Oates led the RPI Engineers in assists for three seasons, was named an NCAA All-American in 1984 and 1985 and helped RPI win the 1985 national championship.  In 1985, Detroit Red Wings general manager Jim Devellano and team owner Mike Ilitch signed the undrafted Oates, 23, to the richest rookie contract in NHL history at the time -- $1 million over four years.  Through 20 NHL seasons, Oates scored 341 goals and contributed a staggering 1,079 assists for a total of 1,420 points in 1,337 regular season NHL games. He also scored 42 goals and 114 assists for 156 points in 163 playoff contests. Oates played for Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton.   Recognized as one of the great passers in NHL history, Oates would lead the NHL in assists three times, finish in the top 10 12 times, and finish second only to Wayne Gretzky as the top assist man of the 1990s.  A five-time NHL All-Star Game participant and an NHL Second Team All-Star in 1991.  In April 2004, Adam Oates officially announced his retirement from the game of hockey.  Oates coached in the NHL from 2009-15. He was head coach of the Washington Capitals from 2012-14 and an assistant or associate coach with the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning.   Oates (10), Thomas (16) and Ron Wilson (20) had their numbers retired by the Waxers, who suspended operations in 2012. Those numbers hang at the east end of Markham’s Community Centennial Centre, now home of the OJHL’s Markham Royals.  In 2012, Oates was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Oates, who was inducted into Rensselaer's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004 and was the first person inducted into the RPI Hockey Ring of Honor (2005)   Oates is a member of the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2016 – and now the OJHL Hall of Fame.

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