Torrey: Westfall a true leader

Former Islanders General Manager Bill Torrey talks about the importance of Ed Westfall's career with the franchise

Friday, 11.18.2011 / 3:55 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Torrey: Westfall a true leader
Starting a brand new franchise can be a daunting task, from choosing a 23-man roster, to finding a coach, to picking the team’s first captain. Islanders architect Bill Torrey – the first employee of the New York Islanders and team’s General Manager for more than two decades – learned as he went, starting with the 1972 NHL Expansion Draft where he selected Ed Westfall at ninth overall.

“Eddie was far and away the most dominant player taken in that draft,” Torrey said by phone on Friday. “He was coming to us the year after winning the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins. He was a key player so it was a major acquisition for a first year team.”

According to Torrey, Westfall had all the qualities a start-up team needed when considering a player for the franchise’s first captain.

“If you looked at the roster, his credentials to be captain were far and away the best,” Torrey said. “He fit the role just naturally. Eddie’s personality is outgoing, very positive, upbeat, he was that way as a player. So he had a very, very good influence on the team in that regard.”

Even though he didn’t put up record numbers in an individual season, Westfall played 493 games in his nine years with the franchise, scoring 105 goals and 181 assists for 286 points, standing today as the Islanders 20th All-Time points leader. More than that, he was a great all-around player.

“He was a very good penalty killer, good on face-offs, could play right wing left wing, he was very adaptable and obviously coming from a Stanley Cup Championship team, he had a great influence on the younger players that came to us that year.”

Torrey said that Westfall’s personality and determination to succeed made the Islanders Captain a great partner for Head Coach Al Arbour.

“He was very adaptable,” Torrey said. “He was open, he was very much aware that our team was an expansion team and it was going to be made up of players from all different teams so there would need to be time to assimilate the different personalities and Eddie was a great mixer. He included all the players in all their events, the things they did. He was a natural leader.”

As far as the way (Westfall) inspired the other players, he inspired them simply because every night when he put that uniform on, he gave it 100 percent, his very best. And that’s the best role, that’s the best influence a captain can have. - Bill Torrey
Now as the Islanders continue to celebrate their 40th anniversary season, time has come for the franchise to honor the team’s leader, who helped mold and guide the young players into the players they would become.

“He was our first captain, the leader of our team for the last five or six years he played,” Torrey said. “He was used by the coaches in many different roles and it never bothered him. He played hard every night and he enjoyed playing. It was a natural fit for him in that regard. As far as the way he inspired the other players, he inspired them simply because every night when he put that uniform on, he gave it 100 percent, his very best. And that’s the best role, that’s the best influence a captain can have.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 76 34 40 -3 74
R. Strome 75 15 32 19 47
K. Okposo 54 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 75 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 76 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 70 23 16 12 39
J. Bailey 64 15 23 4 38
J. Boychuk 66 8 25 9 33
T. Hamonic 66 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 72 10 19 15 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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