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Devils exec Lamoriello surprised at Hall selection @NHLdotcom

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -There aren't many things in hockey that catch New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello off guard.

Having his secretary peer into his office on Tuesday and tell the 66-year-old that Bill Hay of the Hockey Hall of Fame was on the telephone was one, however.

Hay was calling to tell Lamoriello that he had been voted into the Hall of Fame in the builder category for his four decades of contributions to the game - both at the collegiate and NHL levels.

"I knew the vote was today, but this caught me totally by surprise," Lamoriello said. "It's a very humbling experience."

Since taking over as the Devils president in 1987, New Jersey has won three Stanley Cups.

"This makes you think about the people you have been associated with - coaches, players, scouts and staff - because any recognition that you gain is because of the people you work with," Lamoriello said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I have been fortunate to be with the people I have been with."

Lamoriello, who served as the hockey coach and athletic director at Providence and was the commissioner of Hockey East before coming to the Devils, said there have been a lot of highlights in his life in hockey.

The Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003 stand out, but he also recalled the goal by current assistant coach John MacLean that got the Devils into the playoffs for the first time in 1987 and the play of the United States in winning the 1996 World Cup. Lamoriello was the general manager of that team.

Lamoriello even mentioned the seven-game Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers in 1994 and the Stanley Cup final loss to Colorado in 2001 as highlights not to be forgotten.

"All those experiences you always cherish, some positive, some negative. But when I say negative, I mean it was better to have the opportunity to have that experience," Lamoriello said.

Lamoriello will be inducted into the Hall on Nov. 9 in Toronto.

Four players were also voted in: longtime New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch; Detroit Red Wings center and captain Steve Yzerman; Brett Hull, who scored 741 goals in 19 NHL seasons with Calgary, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix; and Luc Robitaille, whose 668 goals and 1,394 points in 19 seasons with Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, the Rangers and Red Wings are the most by a left wing.

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