New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Al Arbour

Al Arbour (Hockey.  Born, Sudbury, Ont., Nov. 1, 1932.)  Alger Joseph Arbour achieved milestones as coach of the New York Islanders that have made him one of the legendary figures in the history of the National Hockey League.  After a 12-year career as an N.H.L. defenseman, Arbour coached the St. Louis Blues for parts of three seasons.  He began his climb to coaching greatness when he was hired by the Islanders June 10, 1973.  In their second season under Arbour, the Isles reached the Stanley Cup semifinals after beating the Rangers, two games to one, and Pittsburgh, four games to three after dropping the series’ first three games.  The next round, they lost the seventh-game semifinal to the defending (and future) Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers, after again wiping out a 3-0 series deficit.  The next year, the Islanders rose to second place in the Patrick Division.  In his fourth season, 1976-77, 47 wins and 106 points earned another second-place finish.  Then came two straight division titles.  The Islanders were to finish first in the Patrick Division four times in five years.  In 1980, the club began its great string of Stanley Cup successes by defeating Philadelphia in the final.  With a team that featured the likes of Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Brian Trottier, Clark Gillies and Billy Smith, Arbour steered the Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups.   As a player, Arbour was a steady defenseman who saw service with Detroit, Chicago and Toronto.  He played on three Stanley Cup champions, one with each of the three clubs for whom he performed in 1954 (Detroit), 1961 (Chicago), and 1964 (Toronto).  But his Islanders coaching record made him one of the greats in New York sports history.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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