Emery has received numerous awards and accolades. In April 2013, he won the William M. Jennings Trophy along with teammate Corey Crawford, awarded to the goaltender or goaltenders who give up the fewest goals in the season. Emery finished the season with a 1.94 goals against average and a 0.922 save percentage. His 17 wins included 12 straight to start the year, the best such streak in NHL history. Emery is a two-time Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy finalist for his dedication and perseverance.
Emery was born in Hamilton, Ontario. His parents are Sharlene and Paul Emery. He has two younger brothers. He grew up in a century-old farmhouse, excelled in school, and was offered a scholarship. He played many sports other than hockey, including golf, baseball, and soccer. In ice hockey, he originally played defence, but switched to goaltender at nine years old due to a shortage of goaltenders in his league.
Emery decided to commit to hockey on the advice of his mother, after a potential scholarship during his pursuit for higher education pushed him to take advantage of his natural ability. At 16 years old, Emery landed with OJHL team Junior C Dunnville Terriers after unsuccessfully trying out for eight different junior teams. Emery was named the league's "Rookie of the Year."
Emery was drafted by Ontario Hockey League (OHL)'s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the fifth round of the 1999 OHL Draft. Emery split the 1999–2000 season between the Welland Cougars of the OHA and the Greyhounds in the OHL. In 2000–01 with the Greyhounds. During his last season in junior, 2001–02, Emery gained notoriety for his fighting ability. He was named OHL's "Goaltender of the Year", setting a record of 33 wins and a GAA of 2.73.
Emery was selected in the fourth round, 99th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2002–03, Emery joined the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League (AHL) and immediately assumed the position of starting goaltender for his first professional season with the team. He was named to the AHL All-Star team, made the league's all-rookie team & became Binghamton's MVP.
Emery was suspended twice for on-ice incidents the same season, once for bumping a referee which resulted in a three-game suspension; the second time for an altercation with Denis Hamel of the Rochester Americans who admitted to uttering a racial slur. Emery retaliated and was suspended for three games. Emery and Hamel later became teammates in Binghamton, and Hamel apologized "for not thinking about what I was saying, in the heat of a game"
Emery began his NHL career in 2005–06 by setting a record for wins to start a career, winning his first 9 games, moving ahead of Bob Froese, who started the 1982–83 season with eight wins while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. In March of the same season, Emery won 12 games, tying Bernie Parent's 1974 record for the most wins in a month.
At the beginning of the 2005–06 season, Emery had won nine-straight games during the regular season as the back-up to Dominik Hašek. When Hašek injured his groin during the 2006 Winter Olympics, Emery became the team's de facto starter, with Mike Morrison, claimed off of waivers from the Edmonton Oilers, as Emery's backup. Emery would be the starting goaltender for the rest of the season, leading the Senators to the second round of the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs.
After the 2005–06 season, the Senators opted not to bring back Hašek, instead acquiring Martin Gerber to compete with Emery for the starter position. Gerber was the starter at the beginning of the season, but due to his poor play, Emery replaced him in mid-November. On February 10, 2007, Emery was suspended three games from the NHL for striking Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre with his stick on his face after Lapierre crashed into Emery's net.
Twelve days later, after his suspension had ended, Emery was involved in a mêlée between the Senators and the Buffalo Sabres. He and Sabres goaltender Martin Biron left their creases to fight each other. After the first fight was finished, Sabres' enforcer Andrew Peters grabbed Emery and a second fight ensued. Both goaltenders received game misconducts, and Emery had the rare feat (for a goaltender) of receiving two five-minute majors for fighting in the same incident. In total, Emery received 22 penalty minutes (two five-minute majors for fighting, a two-minute minor for leaving the crease and the 10-minute game misconduct) for this altercation. After the altercation, fans and media have dubbed him "Sugar Ray" in reference to retired boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and Emery's reputation as a fighter. Then-teammate Brian McGrattan opined that if Emery were a position player and not a goalie, he would likely rank among the top five fighters in the NHL.
Prior to the 2007 playoffs, Emery and the Senators won 5–2 against Montreal on March 30, 2007, which was his 100th NHL game. Emery's strong play in the season continued in the playoffs, as the Senators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres each in five-game series en route to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since the team returned to the NHL in 1992, where the Senators ultimately lost to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. He became a restricted free agent after the end of the season and filed for salary arbitration, later agreeing to a three-year deal with the Senators worth $9.5 million before the hearings were held.
By the pre-season of the 2007–08 campaign, Emery was injured for a lengthy time due to a wrist injury that limited him to just 40 minutes of the pre-season and forced him to miss several games early in the Senators' season.
On April 18, 2008, Murray announced to the media in an end-of-season press conference that Emery would not return to the Senators for the 2008–09 season. On June 20, 2008, Emery was waived by the Senators, and cleared them three days later; as a result, he became a free agent.
Emery signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the newly formed Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on July 9, 2008. As a foreign goaltender, Emery was only allowed to play in 65% of his team's 56 regular season games due to rules that encourage the development of Russian goaltenders. He split duties for the season with former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Vitaly Kolesnik and completed the season as a top goaltender in the KHL with a .926 save percentage & 1.86 GAA.
On June 10, 2009, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million with Emery. After a successful training camp, he marked his return to the NHL with a 2–0 shutout victory against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first game of the season. In his second regular season game with the Flyers, against the New Jersey Devils, he stopped 24 of 26 shots in a 5–2 victory.
On December 8, Emery was placed on injured reserve to have surgery on a torn muscle in his abdomen. Originally expected to miss about six weeks, the prognosis changed when it was discovered that he had avascular necrosis. In March 2010, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren announced that Emery would be out for remainder of the season due to the diagnosis and that a bone graft would be done to alleviate his hip issues.
Doctors were able to catch the disease early on before it spread, unlike the case of baseball and American football player Bo Jackson. As a result, in April, doctors announced an extremely successful surgery. Jackson spoke out about Emery, speculating that they were the only two athletes to come back after the disease. Jackson added, "I take my hat off [to him]. I want him to know I am in his corner. It's a lot of hard work. To come back and play, it takes a very, very special and driven person. He's got a different makeup to want to do all the little things he needs to compete on a professional level." Unlike Jackson, who required numerous hip replacements, Emery had the benefit of advancements in modern medicine, undergoing a very specialized and complex procedure that involved removing 13 centimetres from his right fibula, and then grafting it to the femur to re-introduce a proper blood supply to the area. Holmgren said that while the surgery went better than expected, he did not know exactly how long Emery's recovery would take.
On July 1, Emery became an unrestricted free agent as his injury deemed him unable to play until he recuperates. In August, he was given the go ahead to begin the grueling and tedious workout and rehabilitation process. In November 2010, TSN visited Emery during an on-ice workout and were surprised to see him get down into the butterfly position and play for the first time since surgery. Emery stated that he did not "care if [he could] walk in seven years," and he "just [wanted] to play." To the surprise of his doctors and trainers, Emery has been doing better than expected. In January 2011, Emery began skating with an OHL team, taking shots and training with Eric Lindros, working with personal trainer Matt Nichol and goalie coach Eli Wilson. According to Wilson, Emery was "as sharp and ready now as he was the summer before Ottawa's Stanley Cup Final run."
In March 2011, Emery's injury and undefeated return to the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks garnered much media attention and fascination, with a special segment featured on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. Remarkably, Emery currently has 13 centimetres of bone missing from his leg. This later garnered him a nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
On February 7, 2011, Emery signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Anaheim Ducks, allowing him to the standard two-week conditioning AHL stint. Three other NHL teams showed interest in signing Emery. He was then assigned to the Syracuse Crunch to begin conditioning. Emery went on to play a total of five games for the Crunch in their 2010–11 season, posting a 4–1–0, 1.98 GAA and .943 save percentage.
On February 23, 2011, upon completion of his conditioning stint, Emery was called to the Anaheim Ducks. Emery made his Anaheim Ducks debut on March 11, 2011, against the Phoenix Coyotes when he replaced goaltender Dan Ellis making it his first NHL appearance since he last played in March 2010 with the Flyers.
Emery went on to win six straight starts to open his Anaheim career, falling one shy of matching the Ducks record for consecutive wins by a goaltender, to Guy Hebert.
In the week of March 14, Emery was honored with NHL's Second Star of the Week after going 2–0–0 with a 0.99 GAA and .968 save percentage.
Emery led the Ducks into the playoffs, finishing tied for fourth in the League and posting a 7–2–0 record with 2.28 GAA and .926 save percentage in 10 regular season NHL appearances.
In April, Emery's remarkable comeback was recognized when the Anaheim chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) named Ray Emery as their nominee for the 2011 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The NHL also nominated Emery for the Masterton, making him one of three finalists.
On July 27, 2011, Emery signed a tryout contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was then signed to a one-year contract for the 2011–12 season on October 3.
By the end of season, Emery compiled a 15–9–4 record and 2.81 GAA in 34 regular-season appearances, posting a 10–0–3 record and 2.15 GAA in 16 appearances at Chicago's United Center. Emery was again nominated, this time by the Chicago Blackhawks, for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, honoring dedication and perseverance.
In April 2012, the Blackhawks signed Emery to a one-year extension worth $1.15 million to continue into the 2012–13 season.
In March 2013, Emery made NHL history becoming the first goaltender to ever start a season with 10 straight wins, going 10–0–0. Emery improved his NHL record, with 11 straight wins, going 11–0–0 against the Colorado Avalanche on March 18. Emery surpassed his own record making NHL history yet again, going 12–0–0 in a shutout win against the Calgary Flames which happened to be his 200th NHL start On April 10, Emery made franchise history recording his third shutout in the last five games helping him third overall in the NHL for GAA, posting a 1.90 and seventh in save percentage at .924 with a 15–1–0 record. Emery proved his previous injuries were no longer an issue, posting career highs.
In April 2013, Emery won the award for the NHL's best combined GAA, the 2013 William M. Jennings Trophy awarded to the goaltender who give up the fewest goals in the season, along with teammate Corey Crawford. Emery finished the season with a 1.94 GAA and a .922 save percentage. His 17 wins included 12-straight to start the year, the best such streak in NHL history. Emery won his first Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in six games during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.
On July 5, 2013, Emery signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers worth $1.65 million to serve as the backup to starting goaltender Steve Mason. On July 1, 2014, he re-signed for another year in the same role for $1 million.
On September 8, 2015, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Emery would be attending training camp on a PTO (professional tryout). Following the conclusion of camp he was released from this PTO on September 27. In October & November 2015, Emery trained with the Ontario Reign of the AHL, affiliate to the Los Angeles Kings It was announced on December 18, 2015, that Emery had signed a professional tryout agreement with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL), who are associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Emery has been credited with his leadership & mentoring abilities, on January 24, 2016, upon goaltender Corey Crawford recording his league leading seventh shutout of the season with the Chicago Blackhawks after a win against the Blues, Crawford credited Emery for turning around his work habits. Crawford cited his focus & preparation before a game & during practice to Emery's work habits, stating "As a goalie, I've never seen a guy be so focused and ready for a game," Crawford said. "I was kind of doing the opposite — being nonchalant and doing other stuff and not having a routine. You get in that physical routine that just makes you ready mentally. You trick yourself into knowing that it's game time and time to play." Kyle Dubas, assistant GM of the Toronto Marlies cited Emery for his mentorship towards the team. On February 5, 2016, Emery signed with Adler Mannheim of the German elite league Deutsche Eishockey Liga for the remainder of the season, thus ending his professional tryout with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL) On March 29, 2016, he signed a tryout contract with the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL) and on April 1, 2016, the Philadelphia Flyers announced signing Emery for the remainder of the season.
In June 2010, Emery began dating Canadian singer Keshia Chanté. Emery starred as the love interest in Chante's Test Drive Music video. In June 2016, Emery proposed to Chante on her birthday with friends in Nassau, Bahamas, Emery & Chante were set to wed June of 2017, however, simultaneously with the release of her cover on Today's Bride, Chante announced that she called off the wedding via her Instagram.