Tonight will mark the end of a long and exciting AHL career for Steeve Lemay that both started and ended in Utica.
Mike Murray of the AHL will present Lemay with an award prior to the Comets game against the Hartford Wolfpack.
Lemay began his AHL career in the fall of 1992 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium when it was home to the Utica Devils.
“It’s pretty amazing how far this facility has come,” Lemay said. “The lighting was so dim, which was the biggest issue to me. I’m from Glens Falls, so I’ve officiated there in the ECHL, so it just made sense for me to come back and do my last AHL game here.”
“He is one of my oldest and dearest hockey friends for sure,” Mike Emanatian, the second linesman for tonight’s game. “I had the privilege to work and travel to a lot of games with Steeve. I am honored that he asked me to be a part of his last game here.”
There isn’t a single moment that stands out to Lemay, but a collection of many.
“Just the fact that I’ve been able to stick around for 25 years is the biggest thing to me,” he said. “In 1993, I believe it was the last year the Olympics didn’t use NHL guys, so I got to officiate a pre-Olympics exhibition tour game between the US and Russia in Lake Placid, the first time they met after the Miracle on Ice.”
Whether it was Olympics, an NHL game in Binghamton or a lengthy AHL officiating career, Utica has always stood out to Lemay.
“You go out there and it really feels electric,” he said. “It feels first level, the atmosphere has really grown a lot as the building as the building has evolved.”
What’s next for Lemay? Officiating, of course.
“I turned 50 in April, so it felt like it was time,” he said. “I hope to continue to help out at the local level and hopefully I can help a few young officials develop and have as much fun as I did over the years.”