New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Al Arbour, the coach of the great New York Islanders dynasty of the 1980s, is battling dementia, according to the team’s former star and Hall of Fame center Bryan Trottier.
“Today, he’s going through a little tough time with dementia right now. But we all love Al for all of the great times we had together and his leadership. He was always calm under pressure,” Trottier said of Arbour, 81.
Trottier, the Islanders all-time leader in points, assists and games played, was recently hired as an assistant with the Sabres.
Arbour was an accomplished player long before he took over the head coaching duties of the Islanders during their infancy and eventually led them to four straight Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83.
Known as a reliable defenseman, Arbour’s professional playing career spanned four decades and he won four Stanley Cups — with the Detroit Red Wings in 1953-54, the Chicago Blackhawks in 1961-62, and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1962-63 and 1963-64.
He also played his final four NHL seasons for the St. Louis Blues before retiring during the 1970-71 season.
Before the 1973-74 season, Arbour was hired by general manager Bill Torrey to take over behind the bench with the Islanders, who had entered the NHL the previous season but managed just 30 points during their inaugural campaign.
Arbour had two stints as Islanders head coach, with the first ending following the 1985-86 season and the other starting in 1988 and running through the 1993-94 season.
Arbour retired shortly thereafter as the second-winningest coach of all time, with 781 regular season victories and 123 playoff victories. Arbour was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.