Sunday saw some sad hockey news, with the Hamilton (Ontario) police announcing that former NHL goalie Ray Emery’s body was found in the city’s harbor. The story was initially broken by photographer Andrew Collins and later confirmed by the police. As per Joanna Freketich of The Hamilton Spectator, the police currently see this as “a case of misadventure”:
“At this time we do not believe there to be any suspicious or foul play,” said Insp. Marty Schulenberg of the Hamilton Police Service. “We do believe this is a case of misadventure.”
Emery had been with a group visiting a friend’s boat when he jumped in the water by the slip where it was docked just before 6:19 a.m. It’s not yet known if he went swimming alone or with friends.
“Mr. Emery had gone for a swim and did not surface after he dove in the water,” said Schulenberg. “All of the events leading up to him diving in are still part of our investigation.”
Hamilton police, fire and paramedics were called to the scene, but were unable to locate Emery. His body was later recovered Sunday afternoon by the Niagara Regional Police dive unit. Emery, originally from Cayuga (30 minutes south of Hamilton), played for the Ottawa Senators from 2005-2008 (including backstopping their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007), then spent a year in the KHL with Atlant Moscow and then had further NHL stints with Philadelphia (which included a bout with avascular necrosis, a disease Bo Jackson also famously faced which involves the death of bone tissue), Anaheim, Chicago (where he won the Stanley Cup as a backup in 2012-13 after a season where he split time with Corey Crawford), and Philadelphia again. He last played in the NHL with the Flyers in 2016.
But Emerywas still active in charitable causes, and played in current Nashville Predators’ forward Zac Rinaldo’s charity game in nearby Stoney Creek Saturday night. And the hockey world came out with plenty of tributes to him Sunday, including one from Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas (who was involved in drafting Emery in junior hockey way back in 1999):
On the passing of Ray Emery… pic.twitter.com/aR17IBFE0d
— Kyle Dubas (@kyledubas) July 15, 2018
Former teammates like Brian McGrattan, Paul Bisonnette, Scott Hartnell, Nick Foligno, William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk also tweeted tributes to Emery Sunday:
My Best friend. My Brother. I love you! pic.twitter.com/YWDX2jm55t
— Brian McGrattan (@bigern10) July 15, 2018
Such sad news about Ray Emery. He will be greatly missed. An incredible teammate with a huge heart.
— Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) July 15, 2018
So sad to hear the news of Ray Emery. You will be missed bro! #RIPRazor
— Scott Hartnell (@Hartsy43) July 15, 2018
So saddened of the tragic news of Ray Emery’s passing. We played together for only a short time but he was a great teammate and competitor. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. May he Rest In Peace. 🙏
— Nick Foligno (@NickFoligno) July 15, 2018
Horrible to hear about Ray Emery. He was an incredible teammate. #Razor
— William Nylander (@wmnylander) July 15, 2018
So sad to hear the tragic news about Ray Emery- was a great teammate and person #rip
— James van Riemsdyk (@JVReemer21) July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus had a tribute as well:
I can't say I knew Ray Emery all that well; I only got to cover him during the 2013 season. But I always enjoyed talking with him. A very up-front, honest and interesting guy. And his 45-save game in Calgary that season is still the greatest game I've seen a goaltender play.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 15, 2018
There was some off-ice controversy with Emery, especially around his arrest last year for assault of then-fiancee Keshia Chanté in 2016. He also assaulted a KHL trainer in 2009, and got in other trouble for road-rage incidents, fights with teammates and more. But he also made a positive impact on many, as these tributes show. He’ll certainly be missed by many in the hockey community.