For the maiden feature of The Beanpot Forum’s “Where Are They Now Profile Spotlight”, I felt it was indeed appropriate to feature former BC Eagle and Hobey Baker award winner, David Emma. In my impressionable adolescent years, I admired and idolized those prolific late 80’s/early 90’s BC Eagle squads. In particular, David Emma was the prototype undersized, speedy forward whom every youth hockey player of that generation wanted to emulate their game after. He was, in a sense, a more refined, less chippy version of another renowned Eagle, Brian Gionta. Emma centered and represented the “E” in both the HEM and GEM lines that featured NHL veterans Bill Guerin, Steve Heinze and Hingham native Marty McInnis. Emma finished his BC career with quite the resume as he won the Hobey Baker award (’91) and recorded a BC record 239 points.
Richard Chere of the Newark Star Ledger wrote a candid piece back in May that tells us about the career path Emma has forged for himself after a brief stint in the NHL. Despite his prolific college career, Emma was never truly given a chance and from what I gleen still has some pent up anymosity towards GM Lou Lamoriello. Like most lots in life, timing is everything and the veteran laden Devil squads of that time period were not the place for a young forward like David Emma. Instead of of accepting a demotion to the AHL, Emma took a stand and asked to be put on waivers so he could take his talents elsewhere; a decision that may have been the impetus behind the brevity of his NHL career.
In Emma’s interview with Chere he laments about this misopportunity with the Devils:
“I always felt if I’d had the chance with New Jersey, my NHL career would’ve been very different,” Emma said. “I don’t wish ill will toward Lou, but it’s always been a disappointment because I knew him personally, both of us being from Rhode Island. There was kind of a family relationship there.
The NHL during the 90’s was a completely different league than it is now; physicality and size were the focus and much of the clutching and grabbing rules in effect now, were virtually non existant. This beg’s the question, what would have become of David Emma had he been drafted into the speedier, more skill centric NHL of today? Given the success of some other vertically challenged BC Eagles in the NHL today, namely Brian Gionta and to an extent Nathan Gerbe, my belief is that Emma would have shined. He is a true victim timing, or a lack thereof, as the NHL of today would have provided a stage that correlated perfectly for his unmatched skillset.
His NHL exit is not the end of this story, not by a long shot. Emma did recieve his degree from storied Boston College and in a tale that would bring a smile to the face of Paul Kelly (College Hockey Inc.), he was able to leverage his academic credentials (Finance + Marketing degree) and his personal knowledge of hockey operations to create hs own firm that helps NHL players manage their finances. What better guy to learn from than an astute business professional like Emma who has forged a very succesful and lucrative career for himself despite the fact that his highest annual NHL salary totalled $350K. It would behoove some of the mis-managed and uneducated NBA and NFL types to give Emma a call after hearing about some of the egregious financial exploits of these young athletes….Dez Bryant, ARE YOU LISTENING!!!
Although the NHL has witnessed a precipitous increase in player salaries since the days Emma played, it still pales in comparison and does not parrallel that of the NBA. NFL or MLB for that matter. The mission of Emma’s financial frim is to provide the types of financial service and taylored assistance that he himself was never offered. It is certainly copasetic to learn that there are pragmatic, shrewd former athletes out there who have a good head on their shoulders.
Thanks for all of the great memories, David!!