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Sergei Fedorov: 'I've been so fortunate'

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

TORONTO -- Sergei Fedorov accepted his Hockey Hall of Fame plaque from fellow Russian and honored member Igor Larionov on Monday. When he got to the podium to deliver his speech, he put on his glasses and spoke slowly, as if he was making sure to appreciate every second he had in the spotlight.

"In my wildest dreams I would never expect something like [this]," Fedorov said in his opening remarks. "I never believed and thought something like [this] would happen to me. It's such an honor to be here tonight, to speak in front of you. I've been so fortunate."

He started by thanking the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for inducting him. He thanked his family, including his mother, Natalia, who was in the crowd, filming the speech on her iPhone. Fedorov mentioned that his wife, Corrina, could not be in attendance because she is expecting their first child.

Fedorov then went into some details on his career and what led him to the Hall of Fame. Here are three highlights of Fedorov's speech:

1. His childhood

Fedorov talked about growing up playing hockey as a kid. He was a soccer player until his family moved to a city in the northern part of Russia that had winter nine months out of the year. That's where he learned to skate and honed the skills that made him one of the best skaters ever in the NHL.

"We would go to school first and then the rest of the time we would be around the hockey rink because that town was just perfect for the games that kids wanted to have," Fedorov said.

He talked about how when he turned 15 years old he went to Minsk and got the opportunity to make a name for himself through national camps and, eventually, on the Soviet Union's national junior team.

"It was indoor rinks," he said. "I could skate 11 months out of the year."

Fedorov said it was through the national junior program he made his first visit to North America to play 10 games in Ontario.

"That was an amazing experience and my first taste of what hockey means here," Fedorov said.

2. Landing in Detroit

Before he could get to Detroit, Fedorov played for Viktor Tikhonov on the CSKA Moscow team better known as the Red Army team.

"They were hard grueling seasons," he said. "If you could imagine lifting 27 tons in only two hours, that would be one practice. But in four years, I was ready."

Fedorov was drafted by the Red Wings in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Draft. He made his debut for Detroit in 1990-91. He played 908 games over 13 seasons in Detroit, scoring 400 goals and 954 points. He won the Stanley Cup three times.

"I got so lucky and I'd like to thank the Ilitch family for giving me the opportunity to be a Red Wing," Fedorov said. "I'm a Red Wing at heart. I spent the best days of my life in this organization."

3. Tribute to former coaches

Fedorov issued special thank you messages to former Red Wings coaches Scotty Bowman and Bryan Murray.

Murray, now the general manager of the Ottawa Senators, is battling colon cancer.

"Bryan is fighting for his life," Fedorov said. "One day I gave him a call and we had a conversation. He was doing great and I wish him all the best. My thoughts and prayers are with him."

Fedorov said of Bowman, "not only the greatest hockey coach, but he's a great human being. He showed me a lot, taught me a lot, he made me understand and realize what life is all about, on the ice and off the ice."

He ended his speech by declaring his desire to continue to give back to the game.

"I accept this honor today, and I will proudly wear this ring and this blazer as an ambassador to the game I love, the game of hockey," Fedorov said.

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