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Bettman: Inductees 'elevated our sport'

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman took the podium after the first two inductees.

"Tonight the all-time roster of the Hockey Hall of Fame is further enriched by four remarkable performers," Commissioner Bettman said. "Four legendary scorers. Four outstanding leaders who hail from four different parts of the hockey world."

Commissioner Bettman told the inductees that they "elevated our sport."

"These players earned the reverence of their teammates and the respect of their opponents -- even the defensemen they tormented and the goaltenders they humbled," he said.

Commissioner Bettman said the stat sheets can't measure the millions of fans the inductees thrilled and the memories they created.

"Memories that become permanent tonight in this great Hall," he said.

Commissioner Bettman also congratulated the media honorees -- Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award winner Roy MacGregor and Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner Rick Jeanneret.

"They certainly have earned the recognition they received tonight," the Commissioner said. "And, not coincidentally, Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, Mats Sundin and Joe Sakic certainly gave them lots of material."

Commissioner Bettman then closed with a few remarks regarding the ongoing lockout.

"Even in difficult times we find ourselves reassured to be here, to recognize ultimate achievements on the ice," Commissioner Bettman said. "All of us -- fans, teams and players -- look forward to the time the game returns there."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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