The New York Islanders announced on Wednesday that they will be retiring the jersey numbers of two key members of the organization’s dynasty era, John Tonelli and Butch Goring this season.
They will join elite company, becoming the seventh and eighth players in franchise history to have their numbers retired alongside Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Bobby Nystrom, and Billy Smith.
All eight players contributed to the Islanders’ four-straight Stanley Cup victories from 1980-1983.
Tonelli, who wore No. 27, spent seven-plus seasons with the Islanders and recorded 544 points (206 goals) in 594 games.
He was often the big man for the big occasion, providing the primary assist on Bobby Nystrom’s Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 6 of the 1980 Final against the Philadelphia Flyers before his dynasty-saving brace in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the Patrick Division semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1982.
“To have my number retired alongside several of my former teammates is incredibly humbling and something that my family and I will cherish forever,” Tonelli said.
Current Islanders captain, Anders Lee, currently wears No. 27 but Tonelli sees no issue with that.
“I have spoken with [Lee] and from seeing the tremendous leader he is, I told him that I would be honored if he continues to wear our number until the end of his career.”
Goring was the original No. 91 of the Islanders, considered to be the missing piece of the team’s championship puzzle when he was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in March of 1980.
While Goring was a veteran by the time he arrived in New York, he still put up 195 points (87 goals and 108 assists) in 332 career games while providing a steady presence in the playoffs.
He won the 1981 Conn Smythe Award as the Stanley Cup playoffs’ MVP, scoring 10 goals with 10 assists in 20 games.
“I’m extremely honored to have my number retired by the New York Islanders,” Goring said. “I came to the Long Island community back in the 80s and since then I have made it my home. Some of the greatest accomplishments of my career happened with this fanbase and I can’t wait to share this night with them as well.”
Tonelli’s No. 27 will be retired on Friday, Feb. 21 against the Detroit Red Wings while Goring’s No. 91 is raised to the rafters on Saturday, Feb. 29 against the Boston Bruins.
Both games will be played at Nassau Coliseum.