Former Assistant GM and Scouting Director was 73
Gerry "Tex" Ehman, one of the most important talent evaluators in the history of the Islanders franchise, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 73 after a battle with lung cancer.
Ehman obtained four Stanley Cup rings from his work with the Islanders as a scout in Western Canada and later as Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting. He was an integral part of the Islanders organization from his hiring in 1974 until his retirement in 2003.
"Tex was a special person in the Islanders family for three decades," said Islanders general manager Mike Milbury. "This is a sad day for all of us.
Everyone Tex came near learned a lot from working with him. On behalf of the Islanders and our fans, our heartfelt condolences go out to Tex's wife Lorraine and their children."
Ehman played eight seasons in the NHL with Boston, Detroit, Toronto and Oakland. He retired as a player in 1971 after amassing 96 goals and 116 assists in 429 games. In 1963-64 he was the leading scorer in the American Hockey League. Toward the end of that season, he was recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs in time to help them win the Stanley Cup. Ehman was teammates on the championship squad with a defenseman named Al Arbour, who first hired him in St. Louis in 1972 and later recommended him as a scout to Islanders general manager Bill Torrey, who knew Ehman from his days with the Golden Seals.
"Tex was a good friend and a great hockey man," said Arbour. "He is going to be missed by all of us."
"Tex was my buddy," Torrey said. "The Islanders and our fans have lost a great one. His accomplishments for our franchise will never be forgotten."
Born in Cudworth, Saskatchewan, Ehman was known around the Islanders for his quietly intense nature.
"Tex came up to me one day," said former Islanders captain Patrick Flatley, "and I wondered what he was going to say because he was a pretty quiet guy.
He looked me straight in the eye and told me how much he and the scouts believed in me and that there was no way I was going to embarrass him for drafting me. It was intense. I never forgot that."
"Tex didn't say a lot, but when he spoke his words always made a significant impact," said Bobby Nystrom, who played 900 games for the Islanders. "He was always so supportive of me when I was struggling. The one thing I'll never forget about Tex is how happy he was when we won that first Stanley Cup. He might have been a quiet guy, but his emotions really came out. I want the Ehmans to know that all of us are thinking about them today."
Ehman is survived by his wife Lorraine and four children: Dale, Bryan, Bruce and Teresa.