NEW YORK -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of William A. Torrey:
"William A. Torrey passed away at his home in Florida last evening. The National Hockey League mourns the passing of a true legend of our game, the incomparable Bill Torrey.
"Bill was the first employee, general manager and architect of one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history: the New York Islanders, winners of four straight Stanley Cups. He was the first president of the Florida Panthers and built the organization into one of the most successful expansion franchises in League history; the Panthers reached the Stanley Cup Final in just their third season of existence. And his imprint is on virtually every team in our league, 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.
"It is no wonder that he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and was the recipient of a Lester Patrick Award.
"From his iconic bow tie, retired by the Islanders organization, to his devilish sense of humor, he truly was one of a kind. He grew up in close proximity to NHL greatness, near the Montreal Forum, where his passion for the game at all levels developed at an early age. He attended as many games as he could in junior rinks, where he was as at home as at an NHL Board of Governors meeting, and his counsel was sought out at both.
"On a personal level, Bill was a close and cherished friend and a great source of counsel. I will miss his wit, wisdom and warmth.
"We send our condolences to Bill's four sons, William, Richard, Peter and Arthur; to his brother, David, and sister, Jane; and to his 10 grandchildren. And we have no doubt that Bill's passing also is being mourned by the countless executives, coaches and players whom he inspired, guided and personally developed, and the millions of fans who were thrilled by the teams he built."