Another American hockey legend mastermind is enshrined in to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Just over three years after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder, Lou Lamoriello joined 2012 inductees Mike Modano and Eddie Olczyk in Dallas Monday evening for their spot in the US Hockey Hall of Fame on Hat Trick Avenue in Eveleth, Minnesota.
Lou has always been recognized as one of the best general managers in the sport to this day and serving as GM with one franchise the longest. Born in Providence, RI, Lou played hockey and baseball and was captain of both teams during his senior year. His hockey success and roots started at Providence where he led his team to the Frozen Four during his last year coaching and three other NCAA tournament appearances.
Lamoriello was instrumental in the development of hockey east while serving as the athletic director, and in 1987 took on his first major role as GM of the New Jersey Devils. With the teams first winning season and a couple of playoff wins, his Midas touch in the a management role would begin to blossom. The Devils captured their first ever Stanley Cup championship over the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings by sweeping the original six team in four games.
Lou also was called to manage the 1996 World Cup of Hockey for Team USA. Canada and USA don’t often meet in championship venues however that win was the most significant for USA hockey since the Miracle on Ice championship in 1980. After that 1996 season, Lou engineered the team with some key player moves and acquisitions to help the Devils reach and hoist another Stanley Cup in 2000 along with a repeat appearance the next season falling short one game to the Colorado Avalanche.
Within nine seasons, the Devils captured three cups while reaching the finals five times under his watch.
“Lou was not only a great player, he was a great leader,” quoted Mike Modano. He’s been a tremendous asset to the American hockey community and received the Lester Patrick Trophy due to his contributions.
If you look back at the history of players the Devils have had, they’ve never had a dominant sniper or line that wowed fans all over the hockey world. Ilya Kovalchuk is probably the most naturally gifted goal scorer the Devils have ever had on their roster next to Alexander Mogilny. They’ve achieved success through hard work and working as one unit.
“My philosophy has always been to respect teammates. In order to have success, you need each other. You need your trainers, your equipment people and your scouts. To me, that’s what a team is all about, philosophically, and that’s what the NJ Devils are all about” Lou told media.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for hockey in New Jersey both short and long term. After a remarkable post season run with series wins no one expected the Devils to accomplish, it’ll be interesting to see what the team can achieve in the next two seasons with the experience so many younger players and veterans received first hand.
Are the Devils able to hoist one more cup under Lou and Marty’s tenure? Stay tuned.