Hockey Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour has passed away – The man who helped bring the New York Islanders four straight Stanley Cups.
By now the NHL and all New York Islanders fans have heard the sad news of the death of Al Arbour, the most prolific coach in franchise history.
The Hall of Fame coach guided the Isles to four Stanley cups, coached 1,500 games, and compiled 740 wins with the Islanders, which is the NHL record for most wins with one team.
We all know what Arbour represents to the history of the Islanders organization, but many do not know how much respect the esteemed coach had throughout the National Hockey League.
Having a spot in the Hockey Hall Of Fame is just a diminutive aspect for the one of the greatest coaches in NHL history.
It is no secret of the four Stanley Cups Arbour brought to Long Island, but the stories that are left behind from past players that played for him and against go well beyond an article. It would take a novel to truly tell fans what he did for his team, players and coaches.
Al Arbour was known for his tough love and fatherly instinct which created this powerful atmosphere in the locker room. His players would do absolutely anything he asked of them.
As coach Arbour stood behind the bench with his iconic glasses and tactician mentality, it became a comforting site for the fans just as much it was with his players.
This past season – which was the last at the Nassau Coliseum – every great Islander alum made an appearance and each one spoke of their team and the love and adoration they held for their illustrious coach.
To be old enough to have had the chance to watch Arbour coach will be forever something I will personally cherish and tuck away in my own personal sport Icon mental box.
What was amazing about the Islanders’ cup years was the unity the Island had for their team. Besides the general manager and Architect Bill Torrey, Al Arbour was every reason for how his team carried themselves on and off the ice.
Don’t think for a second those values has not carried over to the current team, especially now. For a coach to stay with just one team and make the mark he did in a 20-year period is not just what made Arbour an exceptional coach and individual for players and coaches throughout hockey to aim to emulate.
Al Arbour was notorious for being a family man and part of his extended family was the men who wore the Islanders Jersey.
As the team heads into a new era and off Long Island, the timing of Al’s death will keep that bond with the Island just a little longer with what history the team is leaving behind.
The Islanders should with no question this season have a patch located on the breast or arm of their jersey in honor of the coach who not only put the team on the map but made them one of the greatest teams in hockey.
Four Stanley Cups is something we may all never see in our lifetime again. The game has dramatically changed with contracts and free agency making it very difficult to keep a team whole.
When an idolized individual passes on like Al Arbour, it is a reminder how special it was for the NHL and especially the New York Islanders to have had the honor in having a man like Arbour be at the forefront of what made the New York Islanders that team that will always be remembered.
Simply put: Thank you Coach!
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