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William A. Torrey Passes Away

"The Architect" of the New York Islanders Dynasty spent 21 seasons with the franchise

by New York Islanders PR NYIslanders / New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of legendary General Manager William A. Torrey.

"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 President and General Manager Garth Snow said. "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."

Torrey was the Islanders General Manager and Alternate Governor for 20 years, starting in 1972, the franchise's first season in the National Hockey League. He also served as the Islanders President (1980-89) and Chairman of the Board (1989-92) during his tenure with the club. 

Video: Bill Torrey - one of the most respected men in hockey

Torrey built one of the greatest dynasties the NHL has ever known. The Islanders won four straight Stanley Cup Championships from 1980-1983. Surrounding that historic stretch, Torrey's club put together 19 straight playoff series victories, which still stands as the longest such streak in professional sports.

"The Architect," as Torrey was affectionately known, selected future Hall of Fame goalie Billy Smith in the team's original expansion draft and drafted five Hall of Fame players-Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy and Pat LaFontaine-in the NHL Entry Draft. Torrey hired Al Arbour - another Hall of Fame member - as Head Coach.

At the start of the 1992-93 season, Torrey stepped down from his position as chairman, passed his role as General Manager to Don Maloney, and remained with the Islanders as a consultant before joining the Florida Panthers as Team President for their inaugural season in 1993-94 and has served the franchise in various capacities ever since. 

Video: Butch Goring on the passing of Bill Torrey

A business and psychology graduate of St. Lawrence University, "Bowtie Bill Torrey" received the NHL's Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to the hockey community in 1983 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Torrey was born on June 23, 1934 in Montreal, Que. He is survived by his four sons, William, Richard, Peter and Arthur; his brother, David, his sister, Jane, and his 10 grandchildren.

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