The American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) has announced that the winner of its newest annual award, the Lou Lamoriello Award, is none other than Lou Lamoriello himself. The Lou Lamoriello Award honors a former college hockey player or coach who has gone on to a successful post-college career in or out of athletics. The award honors the former Providence College player, coach and athletic director who now serves as the President and General Manager of the New Jersey Devils.
“Lou Lamoriello has been a leader in every phase of his adult life,” said AHCA Executive Director Joe Bertagna. “Who better exemplifies the values and character that our game embodies? And what better example is there of taking what you learned from one’s college hockey experience and applying it in the world beyond?”
Lamoriello was humbled.
“This is a very nice gesture but really not necessary,” said Lamoriello by telephone from his New Jersey office. “The older coaches took me under their wing so many years ago when I was just 23-years old and starting out as a coach. They were good to me then and remain so now.”
The first Lou Lamoriello Award will be presented at a reception this Saturday, April 10, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., during this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Frozen Four. Because the Devils will be playing at Philadelphia in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday, Lamoriello will be unable to attend the award ceremony. Tim Lamoriello, Lou’s youngest son, will accept the award in his father’s absence.
The idea for the Lamoriello Award came from a group of retired coaches who meet regularly in Naples, Fla., when the AHCA holds its annual convention. Lamoriello has been particularly supportive of the retired coaches over the years, acknowledging their help to him when he was starting out in the coaching business many years ago.
“Lou has always been there for us,” said Charles “Lefty” Smith, former head coach at Notre Dame. “Whether bringing a group of us to New Jersey to see a Devils game or supporting our small gatherings in Naples, he has never been anything but generous to us old guys. Few people have had the success he has had but he has never forgotten where he came from.”
A native of Johnston, R.I., Lamoriello graduated from Providence in 1963, having played baseball and hockey and serving as hockey captain as a senior. A member of the Providence College Hall of Fame, Lamoriello compiled a record of 248-179-13 in 15 seasons as head coach and then spent five years as Director of Athletics. It was during that period that he was the driving force behind the creation of the Hockey East Association, serving as conference commissioner for three years.
In the summer of 1987, Lamoriello left the college ranks and began his now 17-year tenure as President and General Manager of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League. He has led the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles and has also served as General Manager of Team USA for the 1996 World Cup and the 1998 Olympic Games. In 2002, the title of CEO of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets was added to his resume and his influence was immediately felt in that organization.
Saturday’s reception will also feature the presentation of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Committee’s “Legends Award.” The 2004 Legends Award goes to former Michigan State coach, and current MSU athletic director, Ron Mason. With 924 wins, Mason retired as college hockey’s winningest coach two years ago. The reception will take place from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., just prior to the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Game (7:05 faceoff) at Boston’s FleetCenter.