Everyone, from the outside, looks at New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello as a stickler. He’s a man with rules that he won’t break for anyone, a secretive fellow who works in the shadows. It brings about a negative connotation, but anyone who played for Lamoriello or coached for Lamoriello has raved about the kind of leader he truly is.
“He just kind of has a presence about him. I mean, you could go from ‘The Godfather’ to John Dutton in ‘Yellowstone.’ He just has this aura about him that you just love […] this respect factor,” Eberle said. “And obviously, everyone knows him for his roles as far as keeping your face clean and your hair cut, but I don’t think there’ll be a thing that he wouldn’t do for you.”
NYI Hockey Now dove into a handful of topics from Eberle’s interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman for his and Jeff Marek’s ’32 Thoughts’ podcast, but there was one story that deserved its own piece.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many NHL players were trapped in the United States when the 2019-20 season was put on hold.
Canada, where many NHL players are from, including Eberle, were strict with allowing people back into the country. And for the Eberle’s, they gave birth to a baby girl two days after the shutdown, and getting back home to Canada seemed impossible.
“My daughter was born literally two days after the season ended and COVID had started. We were stuck in New York, and we had had a home birth, and we couldn’t get a birth certificate so that we could get a passport to go home,” Eberle said. “So after about a month and a half, I mean, we were like, we’re stuck in New York. We’re like, we want to get back. We didn’t have any form of identification for her.”
Eberle did not know what to do, so he turned to Lamoriello.
“Eventually, I was like, okay, I’m just gonna call Lou and ask him (for help),” Eberle said. “I called Lou, and within a day, I had the governor of Washington call me to get some identification for my daughter.”
So I mean, it just goes to show you the loyalty that if you go by his rules and you’re a good teammate, a good person, that he’ll do a lot for you.”
What a power move by Lamoriello, eh?
With Lamoriello, it’s always been about loyalty, but as longest-tenured Islander Josh Bailey said following his 1,000th game in Carolina earlier this season, “Loyalty is a two-way street.”
Mathew Barzal said after signing his eight-year extension before the start of this season that he loved Lou and may want to go into upper management following his career because of Lou.
There will always be a divide amongst the Islanders fan base about Lamoriello’s ability to do his job effectively, but as a human being, he seems to be top-notch.