NY Islanders News

RIP to quietly impactful Islanders player Jean Potvin

Canadian Association Of New York's 33rd Annual Hockey Achievement Award Honoring Wayne Gretzky
Canadian Association Of New York's 33rd Annual Hockey Achievement Award Honoring Wayne Gretzky / Ben Hider/GettyImages
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Two-time Stanley Cup champ with the New York Islanders. Eight seasons with 213 points in 402 games from the blue line. And nine years as a color commentator on Islanders radio.

Jena Potvin isn't the first name you think of when you think of the New York Islanders, but the elder Potvin was a big part of this franchise. His passing on March 15, was a big loss to the Potvin family and the Islanders family.

New York Islanders RIP Jean Potvin

Jean's impact goes all the way back to the day Bill Torrey acquired him from the Philadelphia Flyers in March of 1973. The trade was a huge nod to who the Islanders were hoping to draft in that year's entry draft. Jean's younger brother Denis was having a massively impressive junior year with the Ottawa 67's.

In 61 games Potvin put up 35 goals and 123 points. He was going to go first overall in the '73 draft and the consensus was that he could be a hell of a player at the NHL level. By getting Jean, the Islanders were hoping to ease the younger bother's transition into the NHL by having a familiar face to guide him. Something that wasn't lost on Denis years later:

Jean's impact was felt outside of the ice as well. Jean was behind the mic for Islanders radio from 1980 to 1989 as the color-commentator on the broadcast (something the younger Potvin also followed but on TV rather than the radio). No call is more famous than when Nystrom scores in OT to win Cup number 1 in 1980. For a few reasons.

Not only because it's the team's first Cup win but you can hear Jean chant "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Years before it was the chant by Islanders fans after a goal was scored.

As an Islanders fan from Ottawa, I'm always asked: "how did that happen?" And the answer is always simply Denis Potvin. But Jean has just as much a part to play in that. Just four blocks from my home you'll find this mural of Denis and Jean Potvin. The two brothers' achievement isn't lost on this primarily French-speaking community in the heart of Ottawa.

Condolences to the Potvin family for their loss. Jean's impact on this fanbase has been monumental even if it isn't instantly obvious.

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