The Islanders Hall of Fame banner rises high above the white ice, blue and orange clad fans, the press box and even the jumbo-tron at Nassau Coliseum. It’s an exclusive club of players and executives that have represented Long Island wearing the Islanders crest.
|Islanders defenseman Ken Morrow lifts the Stanley Cup above his head after winning the NHL's championship trophy in 1983. |
In the locker room hallway, mounted to the wall, are the bronzed plaques that detail the careers of the Islanders Hall of Famers. Their contributions forever live and line the team’s journey to the ice, reminding them what it means to be a New York Islander.
On Dec. 31, the club welcomes a new member, defenseman Ken Morrow.
A four-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Islanders, Morrow played from 1980-89, spending his entire career on Long Island.
“It was really a big surprise to get the call from Garth a few months ago,” Morrow said, at being contacted by GM Garth Snow regarding the induction. “Having spent my whole career with the team, it certainly means a lot more.”
Before joining the Islanders blue line in 1980, Morrow was a part of the “Miracle on Ice,” the legendary US Olympic hockey team that won gold at the Lake Placid games. After hoisting the Stanley Cup that May, he became the first player to win a gold medal and Stanley Cup in the same season.
“It was a thrilling time for me looking back on it,” Morrow said. “Having won a gold medal, then playing in my first NHL game and skating around the ice with the Stanley Cup. That all happened in a three-month period for me.”
Morrow’s meteoric success is what every player dreams of. Only 23, Morrow was just getting started. He defended the blue line, contributed timely goals and picked up lifelong memories as the Isles won three more Stanley Cups.
A stay-at-home defenseman, Morrow cited his overtime goals in the playoffs as a few of many personal highlights. He’ll never forget jumping over the boards when Bob Nystrom scored the Isles cup-clinching goal against the Flyers in 1980.
|Islanders defenseman Ken Morrow skates in a game during the 1980s. |
“It kind of snowballed after winning the first one and then you are just kind of along for the ride,” he said. “We had such a good and such a dominant team at that time…You came to the rink every day knowing that you have a real good chance to win a game and that’s what it’s all about.”
Morrow’s toughness and resiliency endeared him to the fans and the team and is another reason why he is being honored Dec. 31. He battled knee problems during his career, but played mere days after having arthroscopic knee surgery in the 1980 and 1983 playoffs.
By 1989, Morrow’s knees forced him to retire, but the toughness he displayed would rival almost any hockey players’ war-stories.
“I didn’t have a long career,” he said. “But certainly it was a fulfilling career.”
Morrow played a total of 667 games (regular season and playoffs) for the Islanders over 10 seasons and is the Director of Pro Scouting for the organization today. For Morrow, Long Island and the Islanders were a perfect fit. His relationship with the organization has lasted over 30 years and can now last forever high up in that exclusive club in the Coliseum’s rafters.