Hockey hall throws open doors to Lou Lamoriello

BY foxsports • November 6, 2009

Lou Lamoriello has spent more than two decades building the New Jersey Devils into a top organization. He understands what it takes to turn an NHL franchise into a winner. "I think first of all there has to be a philosophy which you believe in yourself and not only preach, but practice," Lamiorello said Friday during a conference call. "I think what we have tried to do is put a foundation together and stay on track with it. "Competency has to be there, loyalty, and I believe you have to have a work ethic to go along with those three things. And then just get people who want to do the things that are necessary to have success unselfishly." Lamoriello will be recognized for his achievements Monday when he's enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He's being inducted as a builder in one of the Hall's strongest classes. Joining him are Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull and Brian Leetch - all in their first year of eligibility. Lamoriello learned he made the Hall while in a meeting with former player Slava Fetisov. He found it strange when he noticed he'd missed a call from Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay. "It was something I wasn't even thinking of in any way," Lamoriello said. "I wasn't even aware that the selection committee was in process at that time." Lamoriello ran the hockey program at Providence College - coaching such players as Ron Wilson, Brian Burke and Bob Nicholson - before joining the Devils as president in 1987. He became general manager a year later and the team made the playoffs in all but two seasons since. New Jersey has won three Stanley Cups during Lamoriello's time, losing another in the seventh game. He was also the architect of the 1996 American team that upset Canada to win the World Cup of Hockey. Lamoriello is the NHL's longest-serving GM. While he believes the fundamentals of the job remain, he thinks it's tougher to be successful. "The biggest challenge is the collective bargaining agreement today, where free agency is at such an early age," he said. "The decisions that you're making can be very short-term for success. The challenge is trying to keep success sustained over a period of time. ... Bad decisions today will stick with you through this new system for a long period of time." Lamoriello hasn't made very many of those. He credits some of his success to not being afraid to make mistakes. He believes an organization will be strong only if it is filled with people who are willing to put the interests of the team ahead of their own. "There is a reason for a logo in a team sport in front and the name in back," he said.