BARRIE, ONT. -- A hockey hero with ties to the local community has been honoured by the school he has worked alongside for decades.

On Saturday, Darryl Sittler, best known for his years in the NHL, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Lakehead University during its most recent virtual convocation ceremony.

"The name doctor, I just look at it as an honourary thing for them to do, and to me, I don't feel like a doctor, but I certainly do appreciate it," Sittler says to CTV News.

Sittler, who has a cottage in the Orillia area, has been a steadfast supporter of Lakehead University, serving as an ambassador of the school since its inaugural year.

"When they were in their rookie season in Orillia, Lakehead themselves, before they even broke ground, we were raising funds for the wellness of the school," says Sittler.

The degree is meant to honour the dedication he has shown to the school and his decades of work in the game of hockey and the community.

"As one of the hundred greatest NHL players in history, Mr. Sittler's contribution to the Toronto Maple Leafs, hockey in Canada, and Canadian sport, in general, make him an inspiration to not only our students but all Canadians," says Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, the principal of Lakehead University's Orillia campus. "His contribution, you know, in the short answer is a great deal. Mr. Sittler's achievements solidly align with our university's values and mission. Broadly speaking, to support access to post-secondary education."

Aside from his passion for Canada's game, Sittler has dedicated countless hours towards several charities, including Special Olympics Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"My dad was involved with lions club," says Sittler. "He instilled in my brothers and sisters and I that there's opportunities out there, and it was important to give back, you know, without expecting anything in return.