The architect of four straight Stanley Cup winning Islander teams, Bill Torrey, passed away on Wednesday evening at his home in Florida. Torrey was 83 years old.
Torrey served as the Islanders general manager for 20 years and led the team to four straight Stanley Cup championships, five straight appearances in the cup final and the 19 consecutive series victories remains an NHL record to this day. The NHL executives’ list of accomplishments also includes drafting six hall of fame players and a hall of fame coach.
“The Architect,” as he was adoringly nicknamed, was responsible for bringing in Billy Smith, Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Pat LaFontaine and legendary coach Al Arbour.
“Bill set the model for how to build a franchise with the leadership he instilled through his coaching staff, his innovative drafting methods and the trades he executed,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “He was a pioneer, who became a mentor and even better friend, to so many in the industry.
“The teams he constructed set records that may never be broken, including the four straight Stanley Cup Championships and 19 straight playoff series wins. On behalf of the entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to Bill’s family.”
In addition to his role as GM, Torrey served as alternate governor for the Islanders as well as team president (1980-89) and chairman of the board (1989-92). Torrey stepped down from his roles with the Islanders in 1992 and joined the Florida Panthers organization a year later.
“His imprint is on virtually every team in our League,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “As he personally mentored and inspired generations of NHL general managers who have followed him and established the team-building blueprint based upon scouting, drafting and player development that today remains the model for lasting success.”