New York Islanders Commemorate Al Arbour's Impact
Brad Penner, USATSI

The New York Islanders remembered longtime head coach Al Arbour one year after he passed away.

The New York Islanders came together to share memories of legendary head coach Al Arbour.

Arbour, who passed away last August following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, was behind the Isles’ bench for four consecutive Stanley Cup victories.

He was awarded the Jack Adams Award in 1979, and was known as the last player to ever wear glasses, because as Grantland’s Sean McIndoe said, “He simply did not give a f*ck.”

The Isles celebrated the life of their highly decorated coach with a ceremony that lasted roughly two hours. It was attended by fans, former and current players, and the team’s ownership.

Hockey Hall of Famers Denis Potvin and Mike Bossy reminisced about one of the league’s greatest skippers.

“There’s a lot of stories we could talk about Al, the warmth that he showed towards us,” Potvin said, via The Islanders. “As tough as he was, and everybody talks about how much of a disciplinarian he was, we all knew that. We all lived through it. But it’s those other things, the warmth that came out.

“One time he got off the bus and attacked a mob at Madison Square Garden because one of them had thrown a beer bottle at the bus. He went out there, courageously, and you could see that that was totally a guy who just wanted to protect and love his players.”

Arbour was known as the ultimate players coach. He was a fixture in the community, and is widely recognized as one of the great men in the history of the game. In consequence, general manager Garth Snow announced that the team’s practice facility will be renamed Al Arbour Rink.

Al Arbour will continue to be missed.

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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.