Alyson Lozoff slowly pushed the wheelchair through the underbelly of Bell Centre in Montreal, providing Mom with a behind-the-scenes view of their hometown arena.
Carolyn Martin, wearing a black Golden Knights baseball cap, beamed as the morning skate came into her view on that November morning.
It was easy to see where Lozoff inherited the smile that’s become familiar to viewers from her role as rinkside reporter on the Knights’ TV broadcasts.
“It was the most special moment for my whole family,” Lozoff said. “Even the crummy path our lives took, everything just came full circle and made me so emotional. To be able to share that with her is the best part of what I do.
“And she will remember that probably second only to my wedding as just one of the coolest things. It was such an uplifting time for her, and every single Golden Knight came and met her and introduced themselves.”
Lozoff planned the details of that exclusive tour for almost a year, which is what the go-getter does with everything in her life.
She carries a spreadsheet to keep track of who she’s interviewed before games and between periods to ensure she is not speaking to the same players.
The former beauty pageant contestant, who holds multiple law degrees, carefully plotted her career path until 2014 when Martin suffered a massive stroke.
Lozoff spent a year and a half caring for her mom, passing up the opportunity to become the Anaheim Ducks’ rinkside reporter for Fox Sports West.
It was a life-altering experience that ended with Lozoff landing in the place she wanted to be all along.
“What I learned from watching her go through what she went through has transformed me as a woman,” Lozoff said. “I was always mature for my age, and I think going to law school so young prepared me for life in a different way than most people. But going through a tragedy like she went through and watching her learn to eat again, watching her learn to swallow, watching her learn to lift her left limb that’s paralyzed, it’s just absolutely life-changing.
“And I learned so much from her. The most important thing I learned from her is patience. I thought I was patient before, but now, I have all the time in the world for anyone in her position.”
Fateful path to Vegas
A self-admitted perfectionist, Lozoff caught the acting bug in sixth grade after starring as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” and went on to become Miss Teen Canada in 2003 at age 17.
Lozoff said she was a victim of bullying in high school and made that her platform during the competition. She gave anti-bullying speeches at high schools throughout Quebec and Ontario, and served as a spokesperson for a bullying prevention organization.
“You are representing your country as a young woman, and I took it seriously,” Lozoff said. “All of that has helped prepare me to have this role.”
Lozoff attended Marianopolis College in Westmount, Quebec, and moved to Cape Town, South Africa, to model after she earned degrees in civil and common law from the University of Montreal.
The lifelong hockey fan was hired by the Canadiens as the in-arena host at Bell Centre in 2009 and spent three seasons entertaining fans in English and French while she completed her masters degree and wrote her thesis on violence in the NHL.
Lozoff was hired by City TV in 2012 and served as the Montreal bureau reporter covering local sports, including the Canadiens. She was the co-host of the “SportsNet Connected” magazine show, and among her numerous roles at the time was serving as a translator at news conferences for UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre.
Her big break came in 2014 when she was hired as the rinkside reporter for the Ducks.
Lozoff and her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Avy Edery, sold their furniture and were apartment hunting online when Martin had her stroke in October of that year at age 56.
Rather than move to Southern California, Lozoff and Edery remained in Montreal to care for her mom, who was paralyzed on her left side.
“We’d reached an agreement with Aly to become our Ducks sideline reporter, but shortly before the start of the season, her mother took ill,” said Nick Davis, Fox Sports West executive producer, in a statement. “Knowing that she needed to focus her attention elsewhere, we were in full support of Aly focusing on her mom’s recovery. We remain supportive of Aly, and glad to hear that her mother is continuing to improve.”
Martin’s prognosis was grim — “We were told she would never walk again, she might not eat again,” Lozoff said — and she immersed herself in every aspect of her mom’s recovery. The Ducks sent flowers to Martin’s hospital room, but whenever Anaheim was brought up, Lozoff changed the subject.
As Martin’s condition improved, Lozoff returned to work in 2016 as a development officer for the McGill University Health Centre and the Montreal Jewish Public Library.
All the while, she yearned to be back in front of the camera.
“I just knew I wanted to be (in Las Vegas),” Lozoff said. “And when my mom started feeling well enough, that’s what I told my agent. ‘That’s where we need to get to.’ And my mom couldn’t have been more thrilled when she found out.”
Lozoff said she was set to fulfill her spot with the Ducks when her agent received an offer from the Knights to become the team’s rinkside reporter.
Lozoff started with AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, which owns the broadcast rights to Knights game, in October 2017.
During the first trip to Anaheim, she was presented the 2014-15 Ducks media credential she never got to wear.
“I’m just really grateful,” Lozoff said. “I could be doing many other things, but to be able to do this is, I just feel like I’m where I was meant to be.”
Lozoff’s bilingual upbringing in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace area of Montreal about 15 minutes from downtown makes her unique among NHL rinkside reporters outside of Canada.
She is able to develop on-camera chemistry with French- and English-speaking players equally and joked about learning Swedish, too.
“I think she’s really easy-going, outgoing always smiling,” Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “I don’t think she tries to put us in trouble much with her questions, so it’s kind of good for us. She’s real easy to work with. We’re from the same area, so it’s always good when she speaks a little French. It feels at home a bit.”
A quick scan of official NHL team websites shows Lozoff is one of a handful of female rinkside reporters, though several other women serve as TV studio hosts or in similar capacities.
Lozoff also hosts the weekly “Knight Life” magazine show that premiered on AT&amp;T SportsNet Rocky Mountain this season and is part of the pregame studio show with Nick Gismondi and analyst Brad May.
“It’s rare in this business you get to work with someone you have such a fun partnership with. For me, Aly is one of those people that excels at her job but is also a lot of fun,” Gismondi said. “I think the coolest thing about getting to work with Aly is what she brings to the table as a professional, but also the relationship we get to have and the fun we get to have with one another while doing our job.”
Lately, Lozoff has become something of a good-luck charm, with an inordinate number of players she interviews on the bench during pregame warmups going on to score goals.
What started as an inside joke with her crew has turned into an unofficial “Aly Tally,” though Lozoff notes the drawback is the other team benefits from it as well.
“Whenever I prepare, I’m thinking, ‘If I’m sitting at home and watching this, what do I want to know from this player right now?’ ” she said. “I work backwards in that way, and I try to deliver the information people want to know.”
Martin’s health continues to improve, though she was unable to attend the Knights’ 5-4 loss to the host Canadiens in November. With the help of her physical therapist, Martin can take up to 30 steps.
Lozoff said she speaks with her mom every day, and Martin always tries to pass along advice to Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, her two favorite players.
After spending much of her life on the fast track, Lozoff finally is ready to settle into her role with the Knights.
“There’s so much going on outside of the game that I’m covering that no matter what mistake I could make or what someone could say about my voice, appearance or knowledge on camera, at the end of the day, my mom is somewhere trying to learn how to walk,” Lozoff said.
“So, guess what? It’s not so bad. It makes me remember every day to just be grateful for what I’m doing.”