Everyone knows the hockey knowledge that New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello possesses, but perhaps not everybody is aware of what a big heart he has.
One person that is well aware of that is legendary hockey broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick, who spent 15 years as the television voice of the New Jersey Devils while Lamoriello was general manager across the Hudson River. Emrick retired last month after a 47-year career broadcasting hockey and during an appearance on Hockey Night in New York on Sunday recalled a moment that highlighted the person that Lamoriello is.
Doc Emrick and his wife Joyce got their first dog in the mid-1990s when the dog, unfortunately, developed kidney disease. Sadly the she passed away before she was three, but they had tried everything they could to help the dog, including taking her to the University of California, Davis.
“Lou was right with us step by step,” Emrick said during the nearly 40-minute conversation on Hockey Night in New York. “I was having to miss Devils games. The folks at Madison Square Garden (Network), who were my principal employer, and Lou, who was the guy who said yes or no about Madison Square Garden (Network) employing people every year, couldn’t have been better. Couldn’t have been more upfront and supportive of us during that difficult time.
“You would expect it with the death of a parent, and as I said I lost both of them at that time, but he stepped forward at that time as well.”
Lamoriello appeared on the media call in October after Emrick retired from broadcasting following the conclusion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Emrick had called 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Stanley Cup Playoff game sevens, six Olympics, 14 NHL All-Star Games and 19 NHL Winter Classics and Stadium Series games over the course of his career.
Doc Emrick made the decision to step away from calling Devils games and focus solely on national broadcasts in 2011.
“I think it was probably the hardest call that I had to make when I turned 65 and decided I can’t keep burning the candle at both ends and do both NBC and the Devils games anymore,” Emrick said. “Because I was doing 120 games a year and in a hockey season that is a lot of games. I had to call him and tell him I’m just going to have to pull back and do only NBC from now on.
“He was not angry or disappointed. He accepted it very wonderfully as I knew he would and then presented me with a black Lincoln that I still drive to this day. Whenever it turns a significant milestone I always take a picture of the odometer and send it to him, so that he knows that it is still hanging in and doing pretty well and hopefully I will be too.”