Ray Emery, a goaltender who played 11 NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, died in Hamilton, Ontario, on Sunday. He was 35.
The cause of death was drowning, the Hamilton Police Service said Monday. Emery was reported missing at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday in Hamilton Harbor and his body was found at 2:50 p.m. ET near where he was last seen, police said.
Selected by the Senators in the fourth round (No. 99) of the 2001 NHL Draft, Emery was 145-86-28 with a 2.70 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage and 16 shutouts in 287 NHL games (252 starts).
Emery was 21-17 with a 2.64 GAA, a .902 save percentage and three shutouts in 39 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including 13-7 with a 2.26 GAA and .907 save percentage to help the Senators advance to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, when they lost to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. He won the Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 but did not appear in a postseason game.
"On behalf of the Ottawa Senators, I wish to express my sincere condolences on the passing of Ray Emery," owner Eugene Melnyk said in a statement. "Ray was instrumental in our run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, and at his best he brought a competitive edge and combative mentality to the game. On behalf of our entire organization, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to Ray's family, friends and loved ones."
Born in Hamilton on Sept. 28, 1982, Emery began playing youth hockey as a defenseman before switching to goalie at age 9. He made his NHL debut with the Senators in 2002-03 and won his first nine games to break Bob Froese's record of eight straight victories to start an NHL career set in 1982-83. In 2005-06, Emery's 12 wins in March tied Bernie Parent's 1974 record for most in one month.
Emery spent the 2008-09 season with Atlant Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League before agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with the Flyers on June 10, 2009.
Many of Emery's former teammates took to social media to express their condolences, including Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk.
The Flyers released the following statement:
"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery. Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers. His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."
Emery won the William M. Jennings Trophy with Blackhawks teammate Corey Crawford in 2012-13, given to the goaltender or goaltenders who allow the fewest goals in one season. Emery was 17-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .922 save percentage. He was a two-time Masterton Trophy finalist given the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
"The Chicago Blackhawks organization was deeply saddened to hear of Ray Emery's passing," the Blackhawks said in a statement. "We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The Blackhawks will fondly remember Ray as a fierce competitor, a good teammate and a Stanley Cup champion."
The Blackhawks announced Monday that players at their development camp this week will wear No. 30 decals on their helmets as a tribute to Emery.
Emery had surgery in December 2009 to repair torn abdominal muscles which kept him out six weeks. In February 2010, the pain worsened and after an examination, it was revealed he had avascular necrosis, a condition in which a portion of the bone dies from lack of blood flow. He had surgery in April 2010, and 10 months later was signed to a two-way contract by the Ducks.
One month later, Emery played in his first NHL game since the injury and went 7-2-0 with a 2.28 GAA and a .926 save percentage in 10 games with the Ducks, and started five of their six games in the playoffs. He was a finalist for the Masterton Trophy.
"We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Ray Emery," Anaheim general manager Bob Murray said. "When he joined us in 2011, Ray made an immediate impact on our team with his inspiring comeback from a debilitating injury... ... one that rightfully earned him a Masterton Trophy nomination. He was a fierce competitor and his infectious attitude will not be forgotten. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."