Bill Torrey in 2010

Getty Images

Legendary Islanders GM Bill Torrey Dies

May 03, 2018 - 2:10 pm


Bill Torrey, the general manager who built the expansion New York Islanders into a dynasty, has died, the Islanders and NHL said Thursday. He was 83.

The team and league did not provide details about his death. Newsday reported that Torrey died Wednesday night.

"The Architect," as he was known, was hired to build the Islanders' roster in 1972. By 1980, they won the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups, the last team to accomplish that feat.

Torrey drafted five Hall of Fame players --  Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy and Pat LaFontaine -- and hired coach Al Arbour, also a Hall of Famer.

A native of Montreal, Torrey himself was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

In his 20 seasons with the Islanders, Torrey led the team to 15 playoff appearances, including five Stanley Cup Finals. They won six Patrick Division championships.

MORE: Graziano: A Look At Islanders Goaltenders, Management In 2017-18

"Bill set the model for how to build a franchise with the leadership he instilled through his coaching staff, his innovative drafting methods and the trades he executed," Islanders president and general manager Garth Snow said in a news release. "He was a pioneer, who became a mentor and even better friend, to so many in the industry. The teams he constructed set records that may never be broken, including the four straight Stanley Cup Championships and 19 straight playoff series wins. On behalf of the entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to Bill's family."

Torrey also served in the roles of vice president, president and chairman of the board during his time with the Isles.

After stepping down as chairman and GM in 1992, Torrey went on to build another expansion team, the Florida Panthers, in 1993. In their third season, the Panthers reached the Stanely Cup Final. 

"His imprint is on virtually every team in our League, as he personally mentored and inspired generations of NHL general managers who have followed him and established the team-building blueprint based upon scouting, drafting and player development that today remains the model for lasting success," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

Torrey is survived by his four sons, William, Richard, Peter and Arthur; his brother, David; his sister, Jane; and 10 grandchildren.