Few Rhode Islanders, if any, have attained as much success in the world of ice hockey as Lou Lamoriello.
And that’s why the Rhode Island Reds Heritage society honored Lamoriello last Sunday with the prestigious Rhode Island Native-born Hockey Achievement Award in front of a sell-out crowd at the group’s 11th annual reunion.
“We’re honoring Lou in recogniation of his enormous hockey accomplishments,” society president Buster Clegg told the reuinion crowd. “Lou has done more for the game of ice hockey than anyone will ever know.”
Lamoriello, who rose in the hockey ranks from his playing days at La Salle Academy and Providence College, is now the CEO, president and general manager of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Lamororiello was unable to attend Sunday’s ceremony, but his son Chris, who followed in his father’s footsteps by playing both hockey and baseball at La Salle and PC, was on hand to accept the honor.
“My father feels bad he couldn’t be here today,” said Chris Lamoriello. “He’s disappointed he couldn’t make it; but he said he’ll be here next year.”
Like his father, Chris Lamoriello works for the New Jersey Devils. He’s in his 14th season with the NHL club and serves as senior vice president.
But Chris Lamoriello wasn’t the only member of his family at Sunday’s Reds Awards Luncheon.
Lou’s sister Arlene Ianazzi, who lives in Johnston, came to witness the ceremony with her husband Rick Ianazzi. Ann Lamoriello, a one-time award-winning journalist and Lou’s first cousin also came to the dinner as did Virginia Giusti, Lou’s first cousin, and her husband Manny Giusti.
Lou Lamoriello was born in Providence on Oct. 21, 1942. He starred in baseball and hockey at both La Salle Academy and Providence College. He served as hockey coach and athletic director at PC and was a founding member of Hockey East. He also played and coached in the famed Cape Cod Baseball League.
“As a youngster, Lou attended Reds games at the Rhode Island Auditorium,” Clegg said Sunday. “His mom and dad entertained the players at their Providence restaurant and home in Johnston. They did so with some special servings of good old Italian-style cooking.”
Clegg, who is a former GM of the storied Reds franchise, paused then added: “Lou Lamoriello is as much a part of the hockey landscape in Rhode Island as our team. In addition to excelling in hockey, he has brought fame and national recognition to the Ocean State. We are extremely proud of what Lou has accomplished and equally as proud to honor him here today.”