Journal

Lou Lamoriello

I’ll never forget that 1996 World Cup team that Lou Lamoriello put together. That team was the most talented group of players I’ve ever been around. It’s easy to see why Lou is regarded as the Godfather of American hockey.
— Mike Modano

I was in New Jersey with the Dallas Stars on December 16, 2011, the night Scott Niedermayer had his sweater lifted into the rafters. After the ceremony, I went with Joe Nieuwendyk up to a suite so he could congratulate Niedermayer. As we walked in the door, this fire plug of an old man grabbed Joe & gave him a hug.

That was my first impression of Lou Lamoriello.

Lou Lamoriello embraces Joe Nieuwendyk at Prudential Center, Dec. 2011

Lou Lamoriello embraces Joe Nieuwendyk at Prudential Center, Dec. 2011

Then, this past October - on my birthday, in fact - I was hired by USA Hockey to photograph the USA Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Dallas. Again, I'd find myself up close with the legendary general manager of the New Jersey Devils. I'd been pulled away to photograph something and on returning, I found him alone in the room they'd given me to do portraits of each of the inductees. His manner was quiet, but no less warm than the first time.

The difference, however, was context. This time, I could fully appreciate the achievements of one of my fellow countrymen - esteemed player, decorated coach, league commissioner and legendary executive - who has led the New Jersey Devils to an astounding 21 post-season appearances and 5 trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, hoisting The Cup in three of those.

Lou-Lamoriello-portrait-by-Trey-Hill

I was reminded of all of this on Monday, when I came across this article on Puck Daddy, about the way Lou responded to one disgruntled Devils fan coming out of the lockout. Again, the warmth of Lou Lamoriello prevailed. One quote from the article stood out:

I can't think of any other sports executive that would care enough to directly reach out to fans who had expressed some dissatisfaction over the situation.

Lou-Lamoriello-USA-Hockey-Hall-of-Fame-Induction

Many may find it surprising that someone of Lou Lamoriello's stature would win the affection of an angry fan with his warmth and kindness, but I am not among them. He's as warm as he is competitive.