Former Islanders general manager Bill Torrey has passed away at the age of 83. He shepherded the team from its expansion draft, through its formative years, its crushing playoff losses and, eventually, its four consecutive Stanley Cup dynasty. His is a legacy that will not be matched by anyone anytime soon.
Torrey was with the Islanders for 20 years in total, but he was in the hockey business far longer than that, starting with his time at St. Lawrence University, the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL and as general manager of the Oakland Seals. He went from the Islanders to the Florida Panthers, where he spent the franchise’s entire existence as team president.
Torrey was a familiar face around the NHL for a long time and he had an affect on the lives of many. Here are some reflections of the man from Twitter today:
Bill Torrey was a true legend of the game. The #Isles won four straight Stanley Cup Championships from 1980-83. Torrey was the GM for all four championships & put together 19 straight playoff series victories, which still stands as the longest such streak in professional sports. pic.twitter.com/Omikof2K18— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 3, 2018
The passing of Bill Torrey is an incredible loss for all Islander players,fans and family.A great trade, 4 cups later my career and life changed forever.This special friend will be https://t.co/E9XyrIer2q Bill— Butch Goring (@91Butch) May 3, 2018
About 14 years ago in Sunrise, I got into an elevator to the press box with two occupants: Bill Torrey and Al Arbour. Spent the ride thanking them for all the thrills their teams had given me. Saw Bill in Bklyn during 16 playoffs; glad I had a chance to say again. RIP. #Isles— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) May 3, 2018
I still think the GM of the year award should be named after Bill Torrey and the trophy should be in the shape of a bow tie. Any GM's reading this please consider it.— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) May 3, 2018
Very sad to learn of the passing of Bill Torrey, an NHL icon by any standard. Bill gave me my first job in the NHL in 1980. I was lucky to be able to watch and learn from Torrey & Radar at NYI. Thank you Bill, heaven just got a wonderful man. RIP pic.twitter.com/8mXbVJLowj— Neil Smith (@nycneil) May 3, 2018
One of the classiest most loved and respected hockey man- Bill Torrey passed away. Everyone who knew or met him will be saddened by his passing. We traveled the world together and every trip was entertaining. God speed my buddy. It was a blast.— Lou Nanne (@lou_nanne) May 3, 2018
The Hockey Hall of Fame is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Selection Committee member and Inductee, Bill Torrey. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/cksVxMw4XC— Hockey Hall of Fame (@HockeyHallFame) May 3, 2018
The SLU Hockey Alumni Association mourns the passing of Bill Torrey’ 57. A 4-time Stanley Cup champion, Hockey Hall of Fame member and inaugural legend of Appleton, Bill’s presence will be sorely missed across the hockey pic.twitter.com/Zx3p2QrCkE— SLU Hockey Alumni (@SLUhockeyAlumni) May 3, 2018
I can’t think of Bill Torrey without thinking of the time he traded Frank Beaton to the Minnesota North Stars in exchange for steak dinner at The Palm. The NHL wouldn’t allow the deal until it was reworded - Beaton in exchange for future considerations.— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) May 3, 2018
My favourite picture of Bill Torrey,with Frank Selke Jr,as they listen to Charlie Finley who just bought the Seals. pic.twitter.com/0Ewu9LnzMt— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) May 3, 2018
RIP Bill Torrey, who was 'The Architect' behind one of the greatest dynasties in professional sports. Torrey was the original GM of the New York Islanders in 1972 and built the expansion team into a four-time Stanley Cup champion from 1980 through '83. A hockey life well lived. pic.twitter.com/YpNmT18qkx— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 3, 2018
"We are saddened to hear of Bill Torrey’s passing and our sincere condolences go out to the Torrey Family. One of the most accomplished individuals in the history of our game, Bill stood for excellence, class and the utmost dedication to the game he loved." - Luc Robitaille— LA Kings ⛳️ (@LAKings) May 3, 2018
Heartbroken to hear of Mr T’s passing. Was fortunate to have such a great person in my corner for 12 yrs of my career + beyond. Will miss my quick visits with him in the Panthers press box, AHL BOG meetings and the NHL Draft. RIP Mr. T. The hockey world will never be the same. pic.twitter.com/R8pjelIoY9— Thomas J Fitz (@tjf1097) May 3, 2018