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Panthers open coaching camp, with Invoice Torrey nonetheless in thoughts

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – The primary day of Florida Panthers coaching camp is all the time roughly the identical: Loads of gamers on the ice, loads of hope for the brand new season, a little bit of organized chaos.

Day 1, this yr, was totally different.

This time, Invoice Torrey wasn’t there.

The Panthers opened camp Friday, and usually supervisor Dale Tallon’s thoughts, there was a void – off the ice. Torrey, the Panthers‘ president in their inaugural season 25 years ago and part of the team’s cloth ever since, died in Could on the age of 83. He labored for the workforce up till his loss of life and was nonetheless thought-about an advisor to everybody within the group, Tallon particularly.

“He’s here every day in my mind,” Tallon stated. “I’m not getting as many butt dials on the phone, but every day, I miss him. He’s the reason I’m here, basically. He brought me here. He was like a father to me. I miss him, every day.”

Torrey was the primary individual that the Panthers ever honored with a retired quantity – 93, to commemorate 1993, the yr Florida took the ice for the primary time.

Torrey – or Mr. Torrey, as most Panthers staff nonetheless discuss with him as – spent greater than a half-century within the NHL. He was the primary individual employed by the New York Islanders in 1972, and wound up main that franchise to 4 consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 till 1983.

When the Islanders play at Florida on Nov. 10, the groups will honor Torrey’s reminiscence.

“It really hit me when we had our first Board of Governors meeting this summer,” Panthers President and CEO Matthew Caldwell stated. “You send in an attendance sheet and it was the first one we’ve ever done without sending in Bill Torrey’s name. He never missed one. He was such a great representative of the team.”

Groups sit in alphabetical order on the Board of Governors classes; the Panthers are between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings. Caldwell stated Torrey’s absence was famous not simply by the Panthers‘ group this offseason, however by these representing the Oilers and Kings as effectively.

“All of a sudden, this icon’s not sitting there at the table,” Caldwell stated. “That was really tough, tough for the whole franchise. … It was just troubling to go through that, but doesn’t compare to what I’m sure his family is going through.”

Florida reached the Stanley Cup closing in 1996 below Torrey, falling to Colorado. Earlier that season, Torrey went into the Corridor of Fame as a builder who specialised in taking growth groups and turning them into fast winners.

The Panthers by no means received a Cup in Torrey’s lifetime. However Tallon believes the workforce is getting ready to contending, and choices Torrey helped make are a part of the explanation why the membership believes they’re on the cusp of turning the nook.

“He’s still there. He’s always there for me,” Tallon stated. “He was the motivating factor for a lot of the stuff that we’ve done here. We can follow in his footsteps, all of us. His class, his passion, he was just a wonderful guy.”

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Extra AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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