On Friday, January 20th, as part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the New York Islanders, established in 1972, held a special evening honoring players from every decade. Several former players, coaches and staff were in attendance for a dinner at The River Cafe, in the shadows of the Brooklyn Bridge, in Brooklyn, followed by the Islanders-Hurricanes on Saturday night and a special alumni game on Sunday.
Any Islanders’ celebration would be incomplete without honoring and paying special attention to the players that captured four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.
One such player was Bryan Trottier, who was a member of the teams that won four cups and took home another two cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and one as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche.
Trottier, a hockey legend in his own right, sang the praises of the Islanders’ organization for holding a special weekend to honor and remember players from the past.
“I think it’s wonderful that they did a marvelous job putting together a weekend like this,” Trottier said. “It’s an opportunity for all to comingle. Generations of hockey recognizing the wondaful (Islanders) history of 50 years, with the first few lean years, followed by marvelous years in the seventies, eighties and early nineties. It’s important to recognize and celebrate that history and generations of hockey players.”
Butch Goring, whom many NHL insiders consider to be the last piece of New York’s run to 1980 Stanley Cup run after the Los Angeles Kings dealt him at the trade deadline, could not thank the Islanders’ brass for putting together the slate of special events over the weekend.
“It’s just so much fun to see my teammates that I played with, because we’re all over the world now. So, we don’t get to see each other very often,” said Gorging, who also won four consecutive Staley Cups. “When I think about the reunions, it’s been such a longtime coming. I have to thank Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky (co-owners) for getting this all together, because the Islanders alumni were lost. There was just nowhere to go, but this is a wonderful moment.”
Bobby Nystrom, who is best remembered for scoring the winning goal at the 7:11 mark of overtime to give New York the 1980 Stanley Cup title, said that late Islander head coach Al Arbour helped instill moving on and proving themselves all over again after each Cup championship.
“You know, you got to put the past in the past, and that’s one of the things that I would have to say Al was the key guy in that respect,” recalled Nystrom, who said he was thrilled to be at the event. “Because he always said to us, ‘this is over. You learned from it. Now, move on.’ We focused on one step at a time from there.”
— Jerry Del Priore