After the passing of Al Arbour, GEICO SportsNite remembers the legendary former Islanders coach.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Former Islanders’ general manager Bill Torrey and former captain Denis Potvin were as heart broken as anyone over the news that Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour had passed away Friday morning.
“Al Arbour was a special person,” Torrey said during a conference call with reporters. “He was a special man in all of our lives. He was a great family man, he was a great hockey man. Outside of his family nothing was more important to him than his players and his team. Hockey was a major part of his life.”
Arbour spent 19 years behind the New York Islanders bench, joining the organization prior to the 1973-74 season. Originally, Arbour was hesitant about joining the young franchise, believing that the team played in an area too similar and chaotic to New York City. As the story has gone over the years, Arbour eventually visited Long Island and fell in love with the region.
During the conference call, Torrey also explained it was the team’s philosophy that also won over the future Hall of Famer. To read more of this story, click here
“The National Hockey League deeply mourns the passing of Al Arbour, revered head coach of the dynastic New York Islanders,” Bettman said in a statement released by the league.
“A four-time Stanley Cup champion as a player and a brilliant motivator and tactician as a coach, Al Arbour directed the Islanders’ rapid transformation from expansion team to NHL powerhouse — guiding them to four straight Stanley Cup championships, five consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and an astounding 19 consecutive playoff series victories. As it grieves the loss of a profound influence on coaching and on the game itself, the NHL sends its heartfelt condolences to Al’s family and friends, to his former teammates and to all the players he mentored.”
Islanders President and GM Garth Snow reacted to the passing of legendary coach Al Arbour on Friday.
“Al will always be remembered as one of, if not, the greatest coaches ever to stand behind a bench in the history of the National Hockey League,” Snow said. “The New York Islanders franchise has four Stanley Cups to its name, thanks in large part to Al’s incredible efforts. From his innovative coaching methods, to his humble way of life away from the game, Al is one of the reasons the New York Islanders are a historic franchise. On behalf of the entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to the entire Arbour family.”
Arbour, who led the Islanders to four Stanley Cup titles and 15 postseason appearances during his time on the bench, passed away on Friday at the age of 82.
Al Arbour, who was the head coach of the Islanders from 1973 to 1986 and again from 1988 to 1994, has passed away at the age of 82 (Aug. 28).
Arbour led the Isles to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles from 1980 to 1983, and guided them to 15 postseason appearances during his time on the bench.
While with the Isles, Arbour coached 1,500 games, compiling a record of 740-537-223.
Prior to joining the Islanders, Arbour coached for St. Louis from 1970-1973 after wrapping up a playing career that began in 1949 and ended in 1971.
Arbour, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Islanders Hall of Fame, is second all-time in wins and games coached in NHL history, behind only Scotty Bowman.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Today is a very sad day in Islanders Country. If there was islanders royalty, Al Arbour was it. The man is one of the greatest hockey coaches to ever stand behind an NHL bench and he helped turn the islanders into one of league’s greatest dynasties. Arbour was also as beloved as he was respected by his players and the hockey community as a whole. By all accounts, he was a kind man who cared deeply about the players under his command.
Today will mark another loss for Islanders fans who said goodbye to Nassau Coliseum and the team in April. Now, they say farewell to the man who helped turn the Coliseum from a hockey barn to a hockey cathedral.
Brian Erni“The greatest coach of all time.” That’s how my father started when he told me the tale of Al Arbour. For my money, he was right. If my dad’s testimony wasn’t enough, the 1993 Islanders’ run to the Prince of Wales Conference Finals against the Canadiens sure was. I think I realized even back then, as young as I was, how lucky I was to get to see Arbour take his team on one last magical playoff run.
Al will always be a legend on Long Island for what he gave this community on and off the ice. From all accounts, Arbour the man was as great a human being as he was a leader. My thoughts go out to his family during this time, and I hope they take solace in knowing he bought countless smiles to the faces of fans all across the Island. God’s speed, Coach.