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Islanders History

Islanders History: Remembering Al Arbour’s 1,500th Game

UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Hall of Famer and former head coach of the New York Islanders Al Arbour watches the islanders practice before a press conference on November 2, 2007 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Arbour signed a one game contract and will coach his 1,500th game for the Islanders on November 3, 2007 against the Pittsburgh Penquins. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Hall of Famer and former head coach of the New York Islanders Al Arbour watches the islanders practice before a press conference on November 2, 2007 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Arbour signed a one game contract and will coach his 1,500th game for the Islanders on November 3, 2007 against the Pittsburgh Penquins. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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13 years ago today, New York Islanders legend Al Arbour coached his 1,500th career game, ending his career officially with a win.

When talking about the best coaches in league history, Al Arbour’s name has to be mentioned. During his time with the Islanders, he won four Stanley Cups, appeared in another, and had 740 wins along the way.

His story was an interesting one, after the 1985-1986 season, Al decided to step down at the age of 53 years old to take a role as vice-president of player development. That was short-lived as Al returned to the bench after a disappointing start to the 1988-1989 season.

While the Islanders wouldn’t win a championship again, they did make a surprise run to the Eastern Conference final in 1993, that would be the last time the team won a playoff round for a 23 year stretch run.

After the 1994 season, Al retired appearing to end his career with 1,499 games coached and 739 wins to his name. Fast forward 13 years, and Ted Nolan, the Islanders coach at the time, suggested to Charles Wang that Al return for one more game.

At age 75, Arbour returned one final time behind the bench in front of a packed Nassau Coliseum crowd. The Islanders won that game over Pittsburgh by a score of 3-2. After falling behind 2-0 early, the Islanders got three unanswered including two third period goals from Miroslav Satan.

It was a great moment, and now you can see that 1,500 banner up in the rafters and I’m sure it’ll make its way from the Coliseum to Belmont when the time is right

In 2015, at the age of 82 years old Al Arbour passed away in Sarasota, Florida. What a life and career it was for Radar, and what a memorable moment we got on this date in 2007. It’s certainly one Islanders fans won’t forget.

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