The Real 91 Honored on Long Island

Written by on March 5, 2020

By Tommy Bavaro

    On February 29th, 2020, the New York Islanders retired one of their best players they had in their early 1980s Stanley Cup dynasty. Robert Thomas “Butch” Goring became the 8th player in New York Islanders history to have his number (91) retired. Butch Goring played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, and the Boston Bruins. From 1969 – 1980, he played for the Kings before coming to the Islanders from a trade in March 1980. In that season, he scored 19 points in 21 playoff games to help the Islanders to their first Stanley Cup championship. In the 1981 postseason, he improved scoring 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 playoffs games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player, when the Islanders won their second straight Stanley Cup. The Islanders continued their dynasty winning the next two Stanley Cup championships in 1982 and 1983.

    Butch’s final NHL season was in 1985. After being released by the Islanders, he played for half a season with the Boston Bruins before retiring as a player and became the Bruins’ head coach for a season and a half. Goring retired with 375 goals, 513 assists for a total of  888 points with a total of 1,107 games played. He recorded only 102 penalty minutes, the lowest total in NHL history for a player who appeared in more than a thousand games. He also became one of the most effective penalty-killers throughout his career as he finished in the top ten for short-handed goals with a total of 40-short handed goals, the fifth most of all time. At the retirement ceremony in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, he was joined along with his former teammates; Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Billy Smith, Bob Nystrom, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, and John Tonelli. Not only did his teammates join him on this special night, but his mother Audrey Goring (93 years old) also made her trip to Long Island to support her son on this special day!