It was just so special. , Oates played five seasons with the Etobicoke Eclipse of the Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) Junior A Lacrosse League.
He is also the only player in NHL history to centre three 50-goal scorers, helping Brett Hull, Cam Neely and Peter Bondra reach the mark. " Oates' father, a British immigrant, idolized Stanley Matthews, considered one of the greatest association football (soccer) players of all-time and hoped that his son would adopt a pass-first mentality similar to Matthews.
He then signed a $3.5 million contract for the 2002–03 season, with an option for 2003–04, with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on July 1, 2002. , Oates became the 47th player in NHL history, and the 15th fastest, to score his 1,000th career point on October 7, 1997, against the New York Islanders. In the end, he would last less than two full seasons, earning a 65-48-17 record and a flight out of town along side Capitals’ GM George McPhee.  Oates split the remainder of the season between Detroit and Adirondack, finishing his first NHL season with 38 games played, 9 goals and 11 assists. He improved to 54 points in 63 games the following year despite missing a month due to a groin injury, and finished third in team scoring with 78 points in 1988–89. ", Less than two weeks after his tirade, on March 1, 1997, Oates was traded to the Washington Capitals.  He appeared in 60 games in Edmonton, scoring 2 goals and 16 assists.  He set single-season school records for assists and points and was named an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) all-star and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) All-American in both 1984 and 1985.  He was inducted into RPI's Athletics Hall of Fame, and was named the inaugural member of the hockey team's Ring of Honor in 2004. However, the team improved throughout the season and went from last place in the Southeast Division to first; they won 15 of their final 19 games to win the division title. Ses totaux, cette saison, étaient encore plus formidables que ceux de Saint-Louis car il n'avait pas de marqueur naturel à ses côtés. Known as an elite playmaker, his career total of 1,079 assists was the fifth-highest total in NHL history at the time of his 2004 retirement.
 His teammates praised his consistency, noting Oates continued to score points at an elite level when he did not have star players as linemates. Adam Robert Oates (born August 27, 1962) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player, former co-head coach for the New Jersey Devils and former head coach for the Washington Capitals.He played 19 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Edmonton Oilers.
As a college player, Oates was a standout forward for the RPI Engineers.  Oates' former teammates praised his appointment as head coach, calling him a "detail-oriented players' coach" with excellent communication skills. He led the league with 97 assists in 1992–93 and finished third in overall scoring with 142 points. The team scored only one goal in regulation time and were shut-out three times by Ottawa's Patrick Lalime.
Oates was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 12, 2012.  He made his NHL debut on October 10, 1985, against the Minnesota North Stars, scoring his first goal that night on goaltender Don Beaupre and added an assist.
New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello praised Oates' work with the team: "He did an outstanding job for us. Bien qu'étant 2e centre de l'équipe après Steve Yzerman, Oates solidifia néanmoins sa réputation de fabricant de jeu d'élite avec les Wings et d'ici la fin de sa dernière saison à Détroit en 1988-1989, il allait presque au rythme d'une passe par match.  While the 2012–13 NHL lockout delayed Oates' debut with the Capitals, he acted as co-coach with Mark French for Washington's AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. The Flyers hoped that bringing Oates in would solidify their playoff chances.  However, Detroit made changes following a first round loss in the playoffs; Oates, along with Paul MacLean, was traded to the St. Louis Blues on June 15, 1989, in exchange for veterans Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney. , —Oates discusses his time with Brett Hull in St.  Boston teammate Ray Bourque suggested in 1994 that Oates was underrated, saying, "I think a lot of people take what he does for granted.
 After playing in his second career All-Star Game, he threatened to walk off the team following the All-Star break if the Blues did not renegotiate his contract, prompting a negative reaction from St. Louis fans, who booed him loudly. The pair, dubbed "Hull and Oates" as a play on the band Hall and Oates, put up prolific offensive numbers. He has the resume behind him as a player and having the success he had – all the credentials are there for having the kind of respect players have for him. , Oates' best individual season came in his first full year in Boston.