Free-spirited goaltender Ray Emery has a well-earned reputation as a controversial figure around the National Hockey League. He was the playoff hero for the Ottawa Senators during their 2007 playoff run. But a series of off-ice mishaps – including being late to practice on several occasions – eventually resulted with the talented but outspoken netminder to be run out of Ottawa.
After playing a season of pro hockey in Russia, Emery is back. The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Emery to a free agent contract and he will likely be their starting goalie for the 2009-2010 season. Emery, obviously a devoted boxing fan, plans to do it in style too. The custom artwork on his goalie helmet will consist of painted works of three of Philadelphia’s boxing legends. Adorned on one side will be an image of Bernard Hopkins, on the other will be Joe Frazier, and on the back will be Rocky Balboa.
Emery once put a Muhammad Ali image on his helmet in Ottawa and also unsuccessfully attempted to sport a Mike Tyson caricature but that idea was rejected by the team’s management.
So the influence and inspiration of Bernard Hopkins, Joe Frazier and Rocky Balboa have reached so far and wide that they will, in small part, be a part of the 2009-2010 NHL season. It will certainly be some positive and high impact exposure for the sport which presently lacks creative mainstream marketing.
BoxingInsider.com looks forward to doing a “Celebrity Boxing Fan” feature about Ray Emery later this year.