TORONTO -- The final inductee to be honored Monday night was Brendan Shanahan.
The only player in NHL history with more than 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes, Shanahan began his speech by thanking Pat Quinn, Jim Gregory and Kelly Masse from the Hockey Hall of Fame for what he called a "whirlwind weekend."
He congratulated the other inductees, noting that Scott Niedermayer was so competitive and "isn't that nice of a guy" because when all of the inductees tried to flip a puck in the air with a stick the other night, Geraldine Heaney caught it ... and Niedermayer quickly knocked it off with his stick.
Shanahan told an emotional story about his parents. His father passed away when he was 21, and his mother got her driver's license when his dad got sick and would drive long distances to his junior games.
He thanked his older brothers for letting him play even when he was one of the weakest players, saying that motivation helped him get better and stayed with him when he was in the NHL.
Shanahan thanked his wife and his children, who didn't get to see him play much but have had the chance to watch a lot of old video this weekend.
He talked about the incredible feeling of winning a championship, even saying "with no disrespect Johnny Mac" to John McEnroe, who was in attendance, that there is no feeling in sports like winning a championship as a team.
Shanahan thanked New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello for drafting him and Jim Rutherford for being upfront with him about the direction of the Hartford Whalers and trading him to the team he wanted to go to, the Detroit Red Wings.
He alluded to Fred Shero’s famous words about walking together forever, and said he hopes those Detroit teams will be like the Flyers teams of the 1970s and still together years from now.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thanked Shanahan for his work with the NHL's Department of Player Safety, and said his legacy in the sport might end up being more about his thankless post-retirement work than his Hall of Fame career.
Shanahan closed with another story about his father. He was eight or nine years old when his dad caught him writing his name on a wall with chalk. His father told him, "a man's ambition must be small for him to be writing his name on a wall."
Beyond Shanahan's disbelief as a child that his dad was carrying a saying like that around, he felt it was an appropriate story to tell because even though his father could not be here, he deserved to see the name he gave his son on the Hockey Hall of Fame wall and dedicated the evening to him.
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