TORONTO -- During his almost three decades as a NHL official, Bill McCreary always maintained order and kept his cool in the most difficult situations.
On Monday, his ability to handle any scenario on the ice was honored when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was on that day that he had the most trouble dealing with the emotions of the day.
In thanking various members of his family, McCreary broke down, near tears several times, especially in thanking his mother for the contributions she made in shaping his career, which began with the local refereeing organization in his hometown of Guelph.
"When I was a young boy growing up, my dream was no different from that of anyone else, I wanted to play in the NHL," McCreary said.
Those dreams did not pan out and ended after a few years of junior hockey. But then, Scott Morrison hired McCreary as an official and he was on his way to the NHL on a different track.
"What an honor for me to have been on the ice with all these wonderful inductees," McCreary said. "Although some nights were a challenge, I did my job and enjoyed it."
There were so many people for McCreary to thank for helping along the journey and he hit most of them, including his mentors in Guelph and many of the people he encountered along the way to the NHL.
"When I started officiating [there were] 12 referees and 21 linesman," he said. "It was a special honor to be among that group."
Now, he is even more deeply honored to be a member of an even more exclusive group.
"I am truly honored and humbled to say that I am a member," McCreary said. "This is the pinnacle of my journey.
"This weekend has been so special. Thank you to the Hall, I am humbled and honored to be a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame."