Ray Emery

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Ray Emery
Ray Emery Hawks.jpg
Emery warming up with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012
Born (1982-09-28)September 28, 1982
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Died July 15, 2018(2018-07-15) (aged 35)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Ottawa Senators
Chicago Blackhawks
Philadelphia Flyers
Anaheim Ducks
Atlant Moscow Oblast
Adler Mannheim
NHL Draft 99th overall, 2001
Ottawa Senators
Playing career 2002–2016

Raymond Robert Emery (September 28, 1982 – July 15, 2018) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for eleven seasons. Emery was chosen 99th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2006–07 season, he led the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals. It was the modern Senators' first appearance in the finals.[1] He won a Stanley Cup championship with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013.

Emery received numerous awards and accolades. In April 2013, he won the William M. Jennings Trophy along with teammate Corey Crawford, awarded to the goaltender or goaltenders who give up the fewest goals in the season. Emery finished the 2012–13 season with a 1.94 goals against average and a 0.922 save percentage. His 17 wins included 12 straight to start the year, the best such streak in NHL history. Emery was a two-time Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy finalist for his dedication and perseverance.[2][3] His teammates and fans often referred to him as "Razor" or "Sugar Ray" for his aggressive playing style.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Raymond Robert Emery was born September 28, 1982[6] to Sharlene and Paul Emery. He was the eldest of three sons.[7][8] He was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and grew up in small town Cayuga, Ontario, in a century-old farmhouse. Emery excelled in school, and was offered a scholarship.[8] He played many sports other than ice hockey, including golf, baseball, and soccer.[8] In hockey, he originally played defense, but switched to goaltender at nine years old due to a shortage of goaltenders in his league.[7][8]

Playing career[edit]

Pre-NHL[edit]

Emery committed to hockey on the advice of his mother,[8] after a potential scholarship during his pursuit for higher education pushed him to take advantage of his natural ability.[8] At 16 years old, Emery landed with the Ontario Junior Hockey League Junior C Dunnville Terriers[9] after unsuccessfully trying out for eight different junior teams. Emery was named the league's Rookie of the Year.[7]

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL)'s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds drafted Emery in the fifth round of the 1999 OHL Draft.[7] Emery split the 1999–2000 season between the Welland Cougars of the OHA and the Greyhounds in the OHL.[9] In 2000–01, he played with the Greyhounds. During his last season in junior hockey, 2001–02, Emery gained notoriety for his fighting ability. He was named the OHL's Goaltender of the Year, setting a record of 33 wins and a GAA of 2.73.[8]

Emery was selected in the fourth round, 99th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.[7] In 2002–03, Emery joined the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League (AHL) and immediately assumed the position of starting goaltender for his first professional season with the team. He was named to the AHL All-Star team, made the league's all-rookie team and became Binghamton's MVP.[10]

Emery was suspended twice for on-ice incidents the same season, once for bumping a referee which resulted in a three-game suspension;[7] the second time for an altercation with Denis Hamel of the Rochester Americans who admitted to uttering a racial slur. Emery retaliated and was suspended for three games.[7][8] Emery and Hamel later became teammates in Binghamton, and Hamel apologized "for not thinking about what [he] was saying, in the heat of a game".[7]

Ottawa Senators (2005–2008)[edit]

Emery in goal against the New Jersey Devils in the 2007 playoffs

With the Ottawa Senators, Emery began his NHL career in 2005–06 by setting a record for wins to start a career, winning his first 9 games, moving ahead of Bob Froese, who started the 1982–83 season with eight wins while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.[7] In March of the same season, Emery won 12 games, tying Bernie Parent's 1974 record for the most wins in a month.[11]

At the beginning of the 2005–06 season, Emery had won nine straight games during the regular season as the back-up to Dominik Hašek. When Hašek injured his groin during the 2006 Winter Olympics, Emery became Ottawa's de facto starter, with Mike Morrison, claimed off of waivers from the Edmonton Oilers, as Emery's backup. Emery was the starting goaltender for the rest of the season, leading the Senators to the second round of the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs.[12]

After the 2005–06 season, the Senators opted not to bring back Hašek, instead acquiring Martin Gerber to compete with Emery for the starter position. Gerber was the starter at the beginning of the season, but due to his poor play, Emery replaced him in mid-November.[13] On February 10, 2007, Emery was suspended for three games from the NHL for striking Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre in the face with his stick after Lapierre crashed into Emery's net.[14][15]

Twelve days later, after his suspension had ended, Emery was involved in a mêlée between the Senators and the Buffalo Sabres. He and Sabres goaltender Martin Biron left their creases to fight each other.[16] After the first fight was finished, Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters grabbed Emery and a second fight ensued.[16] Both goaltenders received game misconducts, and Emery had the rare feat (for a goaltender) of receiving two five-minute majors for fighting in the same incident. In total, Emery received 22 penalty minutes (two five-minute majors for fighting, a two-minute minor for leaving the crease and the 10-minute game misconduct) for this altercation.[16] After the altercation, fans and media dubbed him "Sugar Ray" in reference to retired boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and Emery's reputation as a fighter.[5] Then-teammate Brian McGrattan opined that if Emery were a position player and not a goalie, he would likely rank among the top five fighters in the NHL.[17]

Prior to the 2007 playoffs, Emery and the Senators won 5–2 against Montreal on March 30, 2007, which was his 100th NHL game.[18] Emery's strong play in the season continued in the playoffs, as the Senators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres each in five-game series en route to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since the team was founded in 1992, where the Senators ultimately lost to the Anaheim Ducks in five games.[19] He became a restricted free agent after the end of the season and filed for salary arbitration, later agreeing to a three-year deal with the Senators worth $9.5 million before the hearings were held.[20]

Emery playing for Ottawa

By the pre-season of the 2007–08 campaign, Emery had suffered a wrist injury that limited him to just 40 minutes of the pre-season and forced him to miss several games early in the Senators' season.[21] On April 18, 2008, Murray announced to the media in an end-of-season press conference that Emery would not return to the Senators for the 2008–09 season.[22] On June 20, 2008, Emery was waived by the Senators; he cleared waivers three days later and became a free agent as a result.[23]

Atlant Moscow (2008–2009)[edit]

Emery signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the newly formed Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on July 9, 2008.[24] After giving up five goals during a game, he chased a trainer who attempted to put a sponsored cap on Emery's head.[25] As a foreign goaltender, Emery was only allowed to play in 65% of his team's 56 regular season games due to rules that encourage the development of Russian goaltenders.[26][27] He split duties for the season with former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Vitaly Kolesnik and completed the season as a top goaltender in the KHL with a .926 save percentage & 1.86 GAA.[28]

Philadelphia Flyers (2009–2010)[edit]

On June 10, 2009, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that they had agreed to terms with Emery on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million.[29] On December 8, Emery was placed on injured reserve to have surgery on a torn muscle in his abdomen. Originally expected to miss about six weeks, the prognosis changed when it was discovered that he had avascular necrosis. In March 2010, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced[30] that Emery would be out for the remainder of the season due to the diagnosis and that a bone graft would be done to alleviate his hip issues.[31][32]

Doctors were able to catch the disease early on before it spread, unlike the case of baseball and American football player Bo Jackson. As a result, in April, doctors announced an extremely successful surgery. Jackson spoke out about Emery, speculating that they were the only two athletes to come back after the disease. Jackson added, "I take my hat off [to him]. I want him to know I am in his corner. It's a lot of hard work. To come back and play, it takes a very, very special and driven person. He's got a different makeup to want to do all the little things he needs to compete on a professional level."[33] Unlike Jackson, who required numerous hip replacements, Emery had the benefit of advancements in modern medicine, undergoing a very specialized and complex procedure that involved removing 13 centimetres from his right fibula, and then grafting it to the femur to re-introduce a proper blood supply to the area. Holmgren said that while the surgery went better than expected, he did not know exactly how long Emery's recovery would take.[34]

On July 1, Emery became an unrestricted free agent as his injury deemed him unable to play until he recuperated. In August, he was given the go-ahead to begin the grueling and tedious workout and rehabilitation process. In November 2010, TSN visited Emery during an on-ice workout and were surprised to see him get down into the butterfly position and play for the first time since surgery. Emery stated that he did not "care if [he could] walk in seven years", and he "just [wanted] to play".[35] To the surprise of his doctors and trainers, Emery has been doing better than expected.[35] In January 2011, Emery began skating with an OHL team, taking shots and training with Eric Lindros,[36] and working with personal trainer Matt Nichol and goalie coach Eli Wilson. According to Wilson, Emery was "as sharp and ready now as he was the summer before Ottawa's Stanley Cup Final run".[1]

In March 2011, Emery's injury and undefeated return to the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks garnered much media attention and fascination, with a special segment featured on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. Emery had 13 centimetres of bone missing from his leg.[37][38] This later garnered him a nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.[39]

Anaheim Ducks (2011)[edit]

On February 7, 2011, four NHL teams showed interest in signing Emery[40] before he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Anaheim Ducks.[41] He was then assigned to the Syracuse Crunch to begin the standard two-week conditioning AHL stint[41] where he went on to play a total of five games for the Crunch in their 2010–11 season, posting a 4–1–0 record, 1.98 GAA and .943 save percentage.[42] On February 23, 2011, upon completion of his conditioning stint, Emery was called up to the Ducks. Emery made his Ducks debut on March 11, 2011, to a standing ovation against the Phoenix Coyotes when he replaced goaltender Dan Ellis, making it his first NHL appearance since he last played in March 2010 with the Flyers.[43] Emery went on to win six straight starts to open his Anaheim career, falling one shy of matching the Ducks record for consecutive wins by a goaltender, held by Guy Hebert.[44] In the week of March 14, Emery was honoured with the NHL's Second Star of the Week after going 2–0–0 with a 0.99 GAA and .968 save percentage.[45]

Emery led the Ducks into the playoffs, finishing tied for fourth in the league and posting a 7–2–0 record with 2.28 GAA and .926 save percentage in 10 regular season NHL appearances.[45][46] In April, Emery's comeback was recognized when the Anaheim chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) named Emery as their nominee for the 2011 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.[2] The NHL also nominated Emery for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, making him one of three finalists.[46]

Chicago Blackhawks (2011–2013)[edit]

Emery on the bench for the Blackhawks

On October 3, 2011 Emery signed a one-year contract for the 2011–12 season with the Chicago Blackhawks after a successful try-out. By the end of the season, Emery compiled a 15–9–4 record and 2.81 GAA in 34 regular-season appearances, posting a 10–0–3 record and 2.15 GAA in 16 appearances at Chicago's United Center. Emery was again nominated, this time by the Blackhawks, for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, honouring dedication and perseverance.[3] In April 2012, the Blackhawks signed Emery to a one-year extension worth $1.15 million to keep him with the team into the 2012–13 season.[3]

Emery made NHL history in March 2013 by becoming the first goaltender to ever start a season with 10 straight wins, going 10–0–0.[47] He improved his NHL record to 11 straight wins against the Colorado Avalanche on March 18.[48] Emery went to 12–0–0 in a shutout win against the Calgary Flames,[49][50] in his 200th NHL start.[51] On April 10, he made franchise history by recording his third shutout in five games,[52] helping him to be third in the NHL with a 1.90 GAA and seventh in save percentage at .924 with a 15–1–0 record.[52] Emery proved his previous injuries were no longer a concern, posting career highs.[52]

In April 2013, Emery and teammate Corey Crawford won the award for the NHL's best combined GAA, the 2013 William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender who gives up the fewest goals in the season.[53] Emery finished the season with a 1.94 GAA, .922 save percentage, and 17 wins.[54] He won his first Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.[55]

Return to Philadelphia (2013–2015)[edit]

On July 5, 2013, Emery signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers worth $1.65 million.[56] With the Flyers, Emery served as the backup to regular goaltender Steve Mason.[57] On November 1, Emery participated in a brawl against the Capitals, punching opposing goaltender Braden Holtby.[57] For the season, he was 9–12–2 with a 2.96 GAA in 28 appearances.[58] On July 1, 2014, he re-signed for another year in the same role for $1 million.[59] In 31 appearances with the Flyers in the 2014–15 season, Emery had a 10–11–7 record and 3.06 GAA,[58] and his save percentage was under .900.[60]

2015–2016[edit]

On September 8, 2015, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Emery would be attending training camp on a PTO (professional tryout).[60] During the preseason he was released from this PTO on September 27.[61] In October and November 2015, Emery trained with the Ontario Reign of the AHL, affiliate to the Los Angeles Kings.[62] It was announced on December 18, 2015, that Emery had signed a professional tryout agreement with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL), who are associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs.[63]

Emery was praised for his leadership and mentoring abilities; on January 24, 2016, upon Crawford recording his league-leading seventh shutout of the season with the Blackhawks after a win against the Blues, he credited Emery for turning around his work habits. Crawford stated that Emery's work habits led him to increase his focus and preparation before a game and during practice. "As a goalie, I've never seen a guy be so focused and ready for a game", Crawford said. "I was kind of doing the opposite – being nonchalant and doing other stuff and not having a routine. You get in that physical routine that just makes you ready mentally. You trick yourself into knowing that it's game time and time to play."[64] Kyle Dubas, assistant GM of the Marlies, cited Emery for his mentorship towards the team.[65]

On February 5, 2016, Emery signed with Adler Mannheim of the German elite league Deutsche Eishockey Liga for the remainder of the season,[66][67][68] thus ending his professional tryout with the Marlies.[69] On March 29, he signed a tryout contract with the Flyers,[70] and on April 1, the team announced that it had signed Emery for the remainder of the season.[71] At the end of the season, Emery retired from the NHL.[72]

Personal life[edit]

Emery was a fan-favorite and celebrated fighter in the NHL, a sport that allows fighting, because it was rare for a goaltender to engage. Emery was a boxing fan and had images of Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, Mike Tyson[73] and the fictional Rocky Balboa on his helmets.[74]

Emery had alleged off-ice incidents publicized,[75] and was subject to much speculation by the press during his tenure with the Ottawa Senators in 2007–2009. Allegations included anger management, vehicular incidents, and speculated recreational drug use.[76] Press members publicized a missed flight during the playoffs, Emery being late for practice, fights with teammates in practice, including a physical altercation with teammate Brian McGrattan, and a stick-smashing incident at practice because Emery was not receiving as much ice time as Martin Gerber, as coach John Paddock claimed.[77] Paddock told the press that Emery was displaying erratic behaviour, was sent home (missing most of training camp) and threw a mini tantrum at the end of a morning skate.[78] The media speculated that Emery was involved with a bad crowd and recreational drugs. When asked by ESPN, Emery stated, "I'm not a saint and I'm not in jail, either."[79] Paddock later expressed regret on how Emery was handled and was partially responsible for signing Emery to the Flyers, where they worked together, during 2013–2016.[80]

A viral video surfaced of Emery trying to punch and chasing a team trainer while the trainer was attempting to place a hat on his head in January 2009.[74][81] Emery said he took anger management classes in the minor leagues and underwent eight weeks of behavioural counselling.[77][75]

In June 2010, Emery began dating Canadian singer Keshia Chanté, and starred as the love interest in Chanté's music video for "Test Drive". On June 16, 2016, Emery proposed to Chanté on her birthday in Nassau, Bahamas. Emery and Chanté were set to wed in June 2017, however, simultaneously with the release of her cover on Today's Bride, Chanté announced via her Instagram account that she had called off the wedding.[82] On September 18, 2017, Emery was arrested for uttering threats and assault with a weapon towards Chanté, after she went to police seeking a restraining order. Chanté required Emery to attend anger management in exchange for charges being absolved, which Emery agreed to and successfully completed.[83] On July 16, 2018, Chanté penned an emotional tribute[84] to Emery stating that she was "heartbroken" and that he was "a Superhero" who was "loving, affectionate, intelligent, hilarious, giving".[85] She also stated that they "may have had differences" but they "forgave each other and continued to love each other right to the very end."[83]

On October 15, 2018, during the Ottawa Senators vs Dallas Stars game, the Ottawa Senators presented a tribute for Emery, that included his close friend Jason Spezza and with Keshia Chanté singing the National Anthem.

Vehicular incidents[edit]

In March 2007, Emery was charged in a minor crash heading to the airport, forcing him to miss a team chartered flight to a road game.[75] In September 2007, he had a much-publicized road rage incident with a 65-year-old man he was accused of threatening to kill and cutting off on the highway. No charges were laid.[77][86]

In February 2008, Ottawa police pulled over Emery, who allegedly cut off a police cruiser with his Hummer. They said he was aggressive with officers. In March 2009, he was charged for stunt driving for having gone 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit. Police impounded his Hummer. He appeared on TSN's Off the Record with Michael Landsberg, saying that, at the time, his Hummer was pulled over at least 30 times in the previous years.[87]

Death[edit]

On July 15, 2018, Emery went swimming with friends near the Leander Boat Club in Hamilton, Ontario. He jumped off a boat and friends called emergency services at approximately 6:00 AM when he did not resurface. His body was found at about 2:50 PM that same day, about 20 yards from where he went into the water, according to Hamilton Police, who referred to the incident as a "case of misadventure".[88] The search for Emery took longer than anticipated due to unspecified safety concerns for the dive team before they could enter the water.[89] Police stated that although foul play was not suspected, the exact circumstances surrounding Emery's death were still under investigation.[90]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

   
Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1998–99 Dunnville Terriers NDJCHL 22 3 19 0 1320 140 0 6.36
1999–00 Welland Cougars GHL 23 13 10 0 1323 62 1 2.81
1999–00 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 16 9 3 0 716 36 1 3.02 .908
2000–01 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 52 18 29 2 2938 174 1 3.55 .904
2001–02 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 59 33 17 9 3477 158 4 2.73 .914
2002–03 Binghamton Senators AHL 50 27 17 6 2924 118 7 2.42 .924
2002–03 Ottawa Senators NHL 3 1 0 0 84 2 0 1.42 .923
2003–04 Binghamton Senators AHL 53 21 23 7 3109 128 3 2.47 .922
2003–04 Ottawa Senators NHL 3 2 0 0 126 5 0 2.38 .904
2004–05 Binghamton Senators AHL 51 28 18 5 2993 132 0 2.65 .910
2005–06 Ottawa Senators NHL 39 23 11 4 2167 102 3 2.82 .902
2006–07 Ottawa Senators NHL 58 33 16 6 3351 138 5 2.47 .918
2007–08 Ottawa Senators NHL 31 12 13 4 1689 88 0 3.13 .890
2007–08 Binghamton Senators AHL 2 1 1 0 120 6 0 3.00 .930
2008–09 Atlant Moscow Oblast KHL 36 22 8 0 2070 73 0 1.86 .926
2009–10 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 29 16 11 1 1684 74 3 2.64 .905
2009–10 Adirondack Phantoms AHL 1 0 1 0 59 2 0 2.03 .857
2010–11 Syracuse Crunch AHL 5 4 1 0 303 10 0 1.98 .943
2010–11 Anaheim Ducks NHL 10 7 2 0 527 20 0 2.28 .926
2011–12 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 34 15 9 4 1774 83 0 2.81 .900
2012–13 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 21 17 1 0 1116 36 3 1.94 .922
2013–14 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 28 9 12 2 1398 69 2 2.96 .903
2014–15 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 31 10 11 7 1570 80 0 3.06 .894
2015–16 Ontario Reign AHL 3 1 1 1 182 10 0 3.30 .878
2015–16 Toronto Marlies AHL 3 2 1 0 178 8 0 2.69 .897
2015–16 Adler Mannheim DEL 7 2 5 0 420 20 0 2.86 .900
NHL totals 287 145 86 28 15,488 697 16 2.70 .906
AHL totals 168 84 63 19 9,868 414 10 2.50 .920
OHL totals 127 60 49 11 7,131 368 6 3.10 .909

Playoffs[edit]

   
Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1999–00 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 15 8 7 883 33 3 2.24 .926
2001–02 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 6 2 4 360 19 1 3.16 .925
2002–03 Binghamton Senators AHL 14 8 6 848 40 2 2.83 .912
2003–04 Binghamton Senators AHL 2 0 2 120 6 0 3.00 .912
2004–05 Binghamton Senators AHL 6 2 4 409 14 0 2.05 .925
2005–06 Ottawa Senators NHL 10 5 5 604 29 0 2.88 .900
2006–07 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 13 7 1,249 47 3 2.26 .907
2008–09 Atlant Moscow Oblast KHL 7 3 3 419 13 0 1.86 .941
2010–11 Anaheim Ducks NHL 6 2 3 319 17 0 3.19 .897
2013–14 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 3 1 2 172 10 0 3.49 .888
2015–16 Adler Mannheim DEL 1 0 0 21 3 0 8.65 .667
NHL totals 39 21 17 2,344 103 3 2.64 .902
AHL totals 22 10 12 1,377 60 2 2.72 .915
OHL totals 21 10 11 1,243 52 4 2.47 .925

Statistics via Eliteprospects[91]

Awards[edit]

Award League/Organization Year
First All–Star Team OHL 2002[92]
Goaltender of the Year OHL 2002[93]
First All–Star Team CHL 2002[92]
Goaltender of the Year CHL 2002[92]
All–Rookie Team AHL 2003[94]
Goaltender of the Month (April) AHL 2005[94]
Molson Cup season winner Ottawa Senators 2006–07[95]
William M. Jennings Trophy (with Corey Crawford) NHL 2013[53]
Stanley Cup Chicago Blackhawks 2013[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Brian Elliott, Jaroslav Halak
Winner of the William M. Jennings Trophy with Corey Crawford
2013
Succeeded by
Jonathan Quick