UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Al Arbour, who coached the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships and ranks as the NHL’s second-most winningest coach, has died, team officials announced Friday. He was 82.
The cause of death is unclear, though Arbor was battling a lengthy illness and had been living in Florida.
Arbour transitioned from a successful 14-season NHL playing career as a defenseman to become one of the league’s all-time best coaches. Beginning in 1973-74, Arbour led the Isles to 15 playoff appearances and won an NHL-record 119 playoff games over 19 seasons. His 740 career regular-season wins are the most with one NHL team. He retired after the 1993-94 season, before returning to coach his 1,500th game on Nov. 3, 2007.
Arbour was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.
“Al will always be remembered as one of, if not the greatest coaches ever to stand behind a bench in the history of the National Hockey League,” Islanders president and general manager Garth Snow said. “From his innovative coaching methods, to his humble way of life away from the game, Al is one of the reasons the New York Islanders are a historic franchise.”
Overall, Arbour had a 782-577-223 record, including three seasons coaching the St. Louis Blues, and ranks second on the NHL win list behind Scotty Bowman.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@SportsonEarth
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