It took some time, but the New York Islanders are doing right by the Architect Bill Torrey who put the franchise on the map with four back-to-back Stanley Cups with appreciation night at the Nassau Coliseum.
Frankly, it would have been strange to have a Bill Torrey appreciation night at the Barclays Center. While the Barclays Center is still technically home to the New York Islanders, it wasn’t the home that Bill Torrey ‘built’. Celebrating him at the Nassau Coliseum was the right call to make.
But we found out today, that the appreciation for Bill Torrey would go beyond just tonight’s game.
The Honor is Ours
The New York Islanders announced yesterday that they’ve named the Isles practice rink at the Northwell Health Ice Center the Bill Torrey Rink. A great honor for a man that gave the Islanders so much.
Very few people have been able to achieve what Bill Torrey was able to achieve with the New York Islanders. His dynasty Islanders of the early 1980’s will go down as the greatest dynasty in modern sports.
His signature bow-tie isn’t immortalized in a banner hanging from the rafters for no reason. Four back-to-back Stanley Cups, 19 straight playoff series victories, inducted to the hockey hall-of-fame as a builder, and drafting a number of hall of fame players.
All of those exploits served to give the Islanders relevancy in an almost saturated New York sports landscape. At their peak, the New York Islanders were the kings of New York sports. And that was thanks to the cunning of Bill Torrey.
As an expansion team in 1973, Torrey knew he was already at a disadvantage. He was going to get a number of misfits that other teams didn’t want. But Torrey knew he wasn’t going to build a winner that way. He focused on the NHL entry draft.
A strategy that paid of handsomely for him. His core of Hall of Fame players would almost all come from the entry draft.
(Billy Smith was brought in through the expansion draft. Technically a draft, just not the right one.)
Dennis Potvin, 1973 Entry Draft, 1st Overall
Clark Gillies, 1974 Entry Draft, 4th Overall
Bryan Trottier, 1974 Entry Draft, 22nd Overall (Second Round)
Mike Bossy, 1977 Entry Draft, 15th Overall
Billy Torrey put the New York Islanders on the map. He deserves any and every honor he’s ever received. Without “The Architect” who knows what happens to the New York Islanders. It will be an honor to appreciate Bill Torrey tonight.