Former Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery was identified as the victim in an early morning drowning on Sunday at the Hamilton Harbour, Hamilton Police confirmed. He was 35.
At 2:50 pm, HPS recovered the body of former @NHL player Ray Emery, 35. Emery was reported missing just after 6:00 am in #HamOnt harbour. His body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen. Family has been notified. Cause of death to be confirmed pending a PM.— Hamilton Police (@HamiltonPolice) July 15, 2018
According to the Hamilton Spectator, Emery and his friends jumped in the water around 6:30 a.m., but Emery never resurfaced. His body was recovered later in the afternoon.
Emery played in the NHL for 11 seasons, two of which came with the Blackhawks from 2011-13, where he served as a backup goaltender to Corey Crawford.
In 2013, he teammated up with Crawford to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender(s) with the fewest goals against in a single season, before going on to capture his first Stanley Cup. During that season, Emery went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts.
The Blackhawks issued this statement following the confirmation:
The Chicago Blackhawks organization was deeply saddened to hear of Ray Emery’s passing. 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 hockey community took to Twitter to offer their condolences when news began to spread:
The NHLPA’s players and staff send our heartfelt condolences to Ray Emery’s family and friends, following the terrible tragedy that occurred earlier today. Ray will be missed by his many friends within the hockey community.— NHLPA (@NHLPA) 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
On the passing of Ray Emery… pic.twitter.com/aR17IBFE0d— Kyle Dubas (@kyledubas) July 15, 2018
Condolences to family and friends. From the AHL to the NHL Ray was always in our face. Major competitor. Got to later share a golf cart for a round with him and meet the man. Easy as hell to hang and talk and laugh with. Tragic loss. https://t.co/KnYdUqkDrd— Colby Armstrong (@armdog) July 15, 2018
I am fucking crushed. You will be missed deeply Ray. I love you man.— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) July 15, 2018
Lost my golfing buddy and best friend today. Uncle Ray Ray touched a lot of hearts and people. Love and miss ya https://t.co/BekxgI5Dgm— Dave Bolland (@DaveBolland) July 15, 2018
Ray was a great teammate and an even better friend. Rest in peace Razor. I’ll miss you man. pic.twitter.com/NNHNc1Swyd— Claude Giroux (@28CGiroux) 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
Just awful news to read. Played in a charity hockey game with him last night and was smiling the whole time. Thoughts and prayers to his friends and family. RIP https://t.co/vPOZGKz8jG— Dylan Strome (@stromer19) 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
Rest In Peace Razor. Going to miss you brother. pic.twitter.com/u8vfmS091b— Max Domi (@max_domi) July 15, 2018
When the Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews third overall in 2006 and Patrick Kane with the No. 1 pick the following year, it was a sign that the dark skies were clearing in Chicago. Things really started to change when Rocky Wirtz took over as chairman following the death of his father Bill in September of 2007, and one of the first decisions he made was to televise all 82 games.
The fans were coming back.
For only the second time in 11 years, the Blackhawks finished above .500 in 2007-08 but missed the playoffs by three points, a season in which Kane won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
The following year Joel Quenneville took over as head coach after only three games to provide some coaching experience behind the bench for a young team on the rise. It resulted in a 104-point season and ended in a Conference Finals berth at the hands of the arch-rival Detroit Red Wings in five games.
The Blackhawks were ready to make that step into championship contenders. They just needed someone to put them over the edge.
Enter Marian Hossa.
On July 1 of 2009, he committed to the Blackhawks for 12 years worth $62.8 million. He bought into the long-term vision and wanted to be a part of something special for many years to come.
Was he ever.
In his first game as a member of the Blackhawks, Hossa scored two goals in a 7-2 road victory against San Jose after missing the first month and a half of the season with a shoulder injury. It was at that moment where you saw what kind of powerhouse the Blackhawks could be and would become with a full lineup and future Hall of Fame winger added to a mixture of franchise-changing players scratching the surface.
Fast forward to Game 5 of the 2010 quarterfinals. You know how it goes. Series is tied 2-2. The Blackhawks trail 4-3 late in the third period. Extra attacker is on. How many times have we seen this? The Blackhawks were surely going to find a way to tie it up ... and then Hossa is sent to the box with 1:03 to play in regulation. A five-minute major boarding penalty.
Not so fast.
Patrick Kane went on to score arguably the biggest goal in Blackhawks history, a shorthanded one that evened it up with 13.6 seconds to go. United Center is up for grabs. But there are still four minutes left to kill off on the penalty once overtime starts, which Hossa once called "the longest four minutes of my life."
In a span of nine seconds following the penalty kill, Hossa jumped on the ice from the box, darted straight for the net and buried home what was the second-biggest goal in franchise history to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 in the series. Two nights later Hossa assisted on three goals and the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators in their barn.
The rest is history.
Who knows if the Blackhawks rally to win that series if they don't tie it up or win it in overtime. Who knows if they break through the next year. Who knows if that core group even remains together. The course of the franchise could've changed that night.
Instead, Hossa was handed the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career on June 9, 2010 from Jonathan Toews, who couldn't give it to him fast enough after he came up on the losing end in consecutive appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and 2009.
Hossa would add two more titles to his résumé with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, which almost certainly locked up his legacy as one of the all-time greats and his eventual next stop: The Hockey Hall of Fame. The wait was worth it.
"I was hoping to get one coming to Chicago and now I’ve got three," Hossa said following the 2015 Stanley Cup win. "What a feeling."
The Blackhawks don't win three Stanley Cups without Hossa, who will go down as arguably the greatest free-agent signing in Chicago sports history.
On behalf of the city of Chicago: Thank you, 81.