Washington Capitals new Head Coach Adam Oates threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch before the Washington Nationals game on Friday, July 6 against the Colorado Rockies. Oates wore a Nationals home white jersey with #77 on the back, his jersey number while he played with the Caps.
Coach Oates received a big ovation when he was introduced and it was reported that Oates was signing autographs at Nats Park as well. DC is truly becoming a hockey town.
Oates is a lefty so it seemed appropriate that he tossed the ball to Nationals southpaw Ross Detwiler. Coach Oates threw from the front of the mound and got it to Detwiler without a bounce, along with pretty good form. See photos below. Welcome back to DC Coach Oates!
More info on Oates from the Caps press release:
Oates, 49, became the 16th head coach in Washington Capitals history on June 26 after playing 19 seasons in the NHL from 1985-2004, appearing in 1,337 games and collecting 1,420 points (341 goals, 1,079 assists) with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. In NHL history only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux averaged more assists per-game than Oates. During the 1990’s only Gretzky (662) recorded more assists than Oates (636).
The Weston, Ontario, native ranks sixth all-time in assists and 16th all-time in points in NHL history. Oates ranks 25th in NHL history in playoff points, having recorded 156 points (42 goals, 114 assists) in 163 career playoff games. The former center led or was tied for the league lead in assists three times in his career (1992-93, 2000-01 and 2001-02) and ranked in the top-10 in assists in 12 of his 19 seasons. Oates was named an NHL All-Star five times (1991-94 and 1997) and was a six-time Lady Byng finalist during his career (runner-up in four straight seasons).
Oates played in 387 games for the Capitals from 1996-2002, compiling 363 points (73 goals, 290 assists). He ranks 18th in scoring and 10th in assists among all players in Capitals history. Wearing No. 77 for the Capitals, Oates was an alternate captain during the 1997-98 season before serving as the team’s captain from 1999-01.
Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.