Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "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."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers. 

Flyers vs. Red Wings: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Red Wings: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

For the first time since Oct. 8, 2015, Dave Hakstol will not be behind the Flyers' bench for a regular-season game.

Instead, the Scott Gordon era (if we can call it that) begins Tuesday night when the Flyers (12-15-4) host the Red Wings (14-15-5).

Let's look at the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Familiarity with the organization was a major reason why general manager Chuck Fletcher wanted Gordon for the Flyers' interim head coaching job.

The fact that he's been in the organization I believe will allow him to get up to speed quicker than bringing in somebody from the outside. Yet, he wasn’t here on a daily basis, so there's some distance — if that makes sense. Close enough, yet far enough away. I think that brings, hopefully, an opinion that we need, a voice that we need.

Bringing in a coach on the fly during the thick of a season is never easy, but one that has some history with the current players is a plus. 

Nine players in the Flyers' projected lineup Tuesday have played at least one game for Gordon at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

But the familiarity doesn't end there.

Gordon was an assistant with the Maple Leafs from 2011 to 2014. James van Riemsdyk scored 30 goals for Toronto in 2013-14.

"We also want to get JVR going, he's a big guy for us," Gordon said Tuesday after morning skate. "I coached him in Toronto, I know how good he can be."

Van Riemsdyk has three goals and four assists through 15 games this season. At times, he's been hardly noticeable on the ice. Last game, he played just 13:32 and was a minus-3 in the 5-1 loss to the Canucks.

Having Gordon understand van Riemsdyk's strengths should only help spark the Flyers' winger, but we'll have to wait and see what he can do differently with JVR.

• Since Nov. 23, the Flyers' penalty kill has ranked seventh in the NHL at 86.2 percent. Still, it sits 30th overall at 73.5 percent and has been a problem since 2014-15 under assistant coach Ian Laperriere.

With time, could Gordon have an impact on the PK? According to Tony Androckitis of, Gordon used a penalty-kill style that had some unorthodox qualities and was predicated on understanding pressure.

In his overall system, Gordon said he doesn't want to throw too much at once at the Flyers.

"We did a couple of things today that we'll try to implement tonight," Gordon said Tuesday, "and then we'll see where we're at after the game."

• In terms of noteworthiness, Carter Hart's NHL debut will trump Gordon's Flyers debut. That's because Hart is viewed as the goalie of the future and is only 20 years old (see story).

There will be a buzz tonight at the Wells Fargo Center solely because of Hart.

• Here's a look at where the Flyers have been since Nov. 13, trends that ultimately led to Hakstol's firing.

• The Flyers, on a four-game losing streak, have not lost five straight this season. Over the four-game skid, they're allowing 5.5 goals per game.

Projected lineup

Claude Giroux-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Wayne Simmonds-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl
Oskar Lindblom-Phil Varone-Dale Weise

Travis Sanheim-Ivan Provorov
Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald-Radko Gudas

Carter Hart
Michal Neuvirth

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Notable comparisons for Flyers goalie Carter Hart's path to NHL at 20 years old

Notable comparisons for Flyers goalie Carter Hart's path to NHL at 20 years old

VOORHEES, N.J. — This has always been the goal for the man in goal.

Carter Hart will make his much-anticipated NHL debut Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It’s a moment he will never forget, but one he feels he’s been prepared for following a remarkable and distinguished four-year career with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

“It’s something I’ve dreamt of as a kid,” Hart said Monday (see story). “I’ve always wanted to be an NHL hockey player since I was 4 years old.”

Hart has long considered Montreal’s Carey Price as a measuring stick of how he views his NHL path.

Here’s a comparison of Hart and other notable goaltenders around the league:

Hart makes his NHL debut 127 days into his 20th birthday. Maxime Ouellet was the youngest in franchise history at 19 years, 112 days. Ouellet played two games with the Flyers in 2000 and was out of the NHL at the age of 24. 

If Hart’s NHL debut doesn’t go as planned, then his coach Scott Gordon, a former NHL goalie, can provide some insight into the struggles of an up-and-coming goaltender. Gordon surrendered five goals in his first NHL game at the age of 26. A week later, on his 27th birthday, Gordon was ripped apart for 12 goals against the Washington Capitals. 

NHL goaltenders develop differently. Hall of Famer Patrick Roy needed just one AHL game in his illustrious career while current Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne played 145 games over three seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

No Flyers goaltender has ever won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Ron Hextall came the closest in 1987 when he finished second to Luc Robitaille. More recently, Sergei Bobrovsky was seventh in Calder Trophy voting in 2011.

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More on the Flyers