There’s so much to say in such a small venue of space for me to get in everything I would like to write about Al Arbour. In my humble opinion he’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest New York coach ever. Some will argue a few Yankees or the NFL Giants coaches like Joe Torre, Casey Stengel or Bill Parcells, but Arbour did it in a sport most New Yorkers do not care enough about. He helped bring back hockey to New York and ignited one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. If Arbour had won for the New York Rangers as he did for the Islanders, there would be a huge memorial service in Madison Square Garden yesterday. Be as it may the entire hockey community has delivered their heart felt condolences to the Islanders organization, it’s fans and of course to Arbour’s family. Since word’s cannot completely express my gratitude for a man who built another family on Long Island, I’ll leave these next moments to NHL.com. First, here is what Bill Torrey said about how their relationship worked for so long:
Few GM-coach combinations have worked as well for as long as Torrey and Arbour.
“Our association was one of the unique relationships in the history of the League,” Torrey said. Though they had disagreements, he added, “once we closed the door and worked them out, we went forward together.”
Torrey believes one major factor in Arbour’s success behind the bench was his presence.
“He was big man, he was a strong man,” he said. “He had a way that no matter what the circumstances were, good or bad, he had a way of expressing himself vocally that resonated with the team. … You’re going to have bad days and bad times, but he never doubted the direction we were going in, and I think the players could see that this wasn’t just words; this is something that this man believed in.”
Torrey said his last visit with Arbour came shortly after the 2015 NHL Draft, hosted by the Panthers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26-27.
“Obviously, he wasn’t in great health,” Torrey said. “It was a special day for him. Even though I’m working for another team, I got an old Islanders golf shirt and put it on. When he saw the crest on it, he got a big smile on his face and did a thumbs-up.
“It’s a day I will hang on to. We had a special relationship. We didn’t always agree, but we never departed from one another without a hung and a handshake. I’m going to miss him. I won’t forget him.”
Finally, from FortNeverLose
Rest In Peace Al and thank you.