Before being given the opportunity for an expanded role with the Anaheim Ducks, Ben Lovejoy was probably most well known for being target of a hotel prank then scoring a goal, taking a puck to his face and it swelling up on the team plane during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The former Dartmouth Big Green defenseman signed out of University with Pittsburgh and spent his first four seasons in the league getting spot duty with the Penguins, appearing in 98 regular season and 9 playoff games. He was traded to Anaheim in February of 2013 for Anaheim's 2014 5th round draft choice (used to select Anthony Angello) just three games in to the lockout shortened 13-14 season.
In his time with Anaheim Lovejoy proved his ability to be an everyday defender, settling in on a pairing with Cam Fowler and appearing in 110 regular season and 20 playoff games with the Ducks in his first two seasons. Thanks to his physical presence and likable personality in interviews he became a fan favorite, especially buoyed by the ability to make Simpsons references. Heading in to this season Lovejoy was named captain for the Wild Wingers Kids Club, and became the fifth consecutive player holding the role to either get injured or be traded.
Paired with Fowler once more in 14-15, Lovejoy was one of the early Ducks blue line casualties of the season when he broke his hand in the pictured fight with Joe Pavelski during Anaheim's embarrassing 4-1 loss to the Sharks on October 26 as the Ducks racked up 74 minutes in penalties in the third period alone. He returned on December 12, putting up assists in his first two games back at Edmonton and Winnipeg, ultimately contributing four helpers on the five game Canadian road trip and playing his most minutes with Anaheim against Montreal at 23:12 TOI. Lovejoy's biggest offensive evening came February 20 at Honda Center against Calgary, where he put up a goal and an assist.
For the 40 games he played with the Ducks Lovejoy was slightly better than even with a 50.9 shot attempt percentage, but really scuffled in his final 10 games before the trade deadline with opposition getting 50%+ of the shot attempts with him on ice in seven of them. Come trade deadline the Penguins offered the promising Simon Despres (Season In Review) to bring Lovejoy back to the Steel City and Anaheim jumped at the chance. He concluded the year as part of an undermanned due to cap issues Penguins defense; be sure to check out Pensburgh's take on his post-deadline play.
A revelation when first given the opportunity as a nightly player with the Ducks, Lovejoy and Fowler became an important second pairing during the lockout shortened season. However as time went on and he continued to see elevated playing time and less sheltering, more and more holes became apparent in his game. Still, even on the way out Lovejoy was classy and made reference to the building narrative that it was Fowler who had a bigger hand in helping him elevate him game rather than the other way around.
Anaheim and OC is a special place. I was lucky to be a Duck, and appreciate greatly the role I was given to play for such a good team.— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) March 3, 2015
The support I have received from both Ducks fans and Pens fans has been overwhelming. You have treated Avery, Lila, and me as family, and...— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) March 3, 2015
I will always be grateful. Thank you Bob Murray & Bruce Boudreau for believing in me, and Cam for carrying me ;)— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) March 3, 2015
Lovejoy will be fondly remembered in Anaheim for his genuine, straight shooting personality. It wouldn't surprise if once his career concludes he ought have the opportunity to work in media, as the NHL could use a well thought, engaging, and clear spoken player like him as a voice within the league. Lovejoy was part of the rise of this current core of the Ducks, though he was traded will always be a welcome face when he returns to Honda Center.