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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 / 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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 65 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 65 14 28 23 42
B. Nelson 65 17 20 7 37
F. Nielsen 65 11 25 13 36
A. Lee 59 21 13 13 34
J. Bailey 53 13 19 11 32
J. Boychuk 55 7 23 14 30
N. Leddy 65 8 18 16 26
T. Hamonic 55 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 1 .911 2.47
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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