DETROIT -- United States Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Cindy Curley and Bill Guerin went out of their ways Monday to mention how important New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello was in the growth of their careers.
Lamoriello was the men’s hockey coach and athletic director at Providence College during Curley’s time as a player at the school. Curley said few people at that time were as dedicated to the advancement of women’s hockey as Lamoriello.
“He did so much for that school and promoting hockey,” Curley said. “All hockey, women’s hockey, men’s hockey. I think he was way ahead of his time by treating the women’s program equally to the men’s program.”
Curley mentioned ice time that was convenient for the men and the women, and said that equality sometimes went a bit far for her.
“For me, I was afraid of the puck,” Curley said. “So he had one of the guys come out who had a great slap shot and I had to stand there while he fired the puck at me and I was supposed to tip it in. He was showing me that I was an equal hockey player and he wanted you to learn that skill set.”
As GM of the Devils, Lamoriello chose Guerin with the fifth pick of the 1989 NHL Draft and brought him to the League during the 1991-92 season. Guerin spent his first seven seasons with the Devils, including the 1995 Stanley Cup season.
“Lou drafting me to New Jersey was everything I needed in my life,” Guerin said. “He’s always been there for me. He’s been a mentor, he’s been a disciplinarian. He’s been a friend. I cherish my relationship with him.”