Jean Potwin, part of the NHL dynasty of 1980s islanders, dies at 72

Defender Jean Potwin, who played in the first two of the four New York Islanders’ teams in the Stanley Cup championships in the 1980s, died Tuesday in Weston, Florida. He was 72 years old.

His brother Dennis confirmed the death in hospital. He said the cause was still unknown, pending an autopsy.

Potwin spent 11 seasons in the National Hockey League, eight with the Islanders. He joined the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for the 1972-73 season, when the Islanders, then in their first year as an expansion team, were terrible.

But Potwin felt he would get more playing time on a bad team. He also rightly predicted that the islanders would choose his brother Dennis, who was four years younger, as the best overall pick in the upcoming NHL Amateur Draft.

Dennis, also a defender, became a star in the league and was inducted into the hockey fall of fame in 1991.

“Many people consider him one of the five best defenders,” Jean Potwin told Psyched, a sports psychology magazine, in 2007. “I was not in that class. I was better than the average player, but I was lucky to play with some great teams with the islanders. “

During Potwin’s first training camp, he developed a skin disease that kept him off the ice for three days. This angered Coach Al Arbor.

“Al was yelling at me when he found out the doctor said I couldn’t sweat for three days,” he told The New York Times in 2016. Potwin sat in the stands yelling at his teammates that they weren’t. made every effort. They responded by firing puck.

“My teammates even honored me with the Jean Potwin Training Camp Award,” he said, “for the man who missed time with the most idiotic, unknown or unheard of injuries or illnesses, the ones you can’t trace.”

The Islanders improved quickly under Arbor and with players like Clark Gillis (who died in January), Brian Trotter, Bob Nistrom and Glenn Resch. Potwin had his best year in the 1975-76 season, when the Islanders finished second in the Patrick Division with 72 points, third in the team after 95 at Trotie and 98 at his brother.

In one game this season, Jean scored three goals in the second period, and his brother scored two more in the defeat of Detroit Red Wings. Jean gave part of the credit for her introduction to her new mouthpiece.

“I told the doctor: ‘Keep doing them as soon as possible,'” he said after the match. I will wear a new one every cycle.

Potwin was replaced by Cleveland Barnes in January 1978. He was with Cleveland until the end of that season and with the Minnesota North Stars in the 1978-79 season, after the Barons were taken over by the Minnesota franchise. He returned to the Islanders as a free agent in 1979 and played part-time for the next two seasons, when he won the Stanley Cup but did not play in the playoffs.

Shortly after winning the Cup in 1980, with Nistrom scoring in overtime against the Flyers, Jean and Dennis Potwin embraced in the islanders’ locker room.

“They hugged, cried and spoke softly to each other in French,” said Howie Rose, who was then the sporting director of WHN radio and later became the announcer of the Islanders’ game. “They won the Cup and made the dream they had as young people come true, and to see tears flow while speaking a foreign language was very moving.”

Jean Rene Potwin was born on March 25, 1949 in Ottawa. His father Armand was a civil servant; his mother, Lucille (St. Louis) Potwin, was a housewife and catering.

Jean played youth hockey for Ottawa 67 (as well as Dennis) and the Springfield Kings of the American Hockey League before joining the parent club, the Los Angeles Kings for four games in the 1970-71 season. He was again with the Kings in the 1971-72 season, during which he was traded to the Flyers.

After he and Dennis reunited on the islands, they became roommates on the road and were paired on the ice during power games.

“He was a brother, a coach, a supporter; he would listen to me and play the role of mediator with Al Arbor, who was tough on everyone, “Dennis said in a telephone interview. “Hockey News once wrote us on the cover as the ‘Dynamic Duo.'”

During his 11-year career, Jean Potwin scored 46 goals and 167 assists.

Apart from his brother Dennis, he is survived by his wife Lorraine (Pollock) Potwin; his daughters Kim Lomasny and Leslie Moreau; his son Justin; four grandchildren and another brother, Robert.

After retiring, Potwin was a radio analyst for the islanders until 1989. But he had already begun a long career as a stockbroker and salesman for various investment firms. Most recently, he was senior vice president of Catholic charities at Brooklyn & Queens, specializing in fundraising.

Sales and fundraising matched his sociable personality, said Dennis Potwin.

“You can have a room full of people,” he said, “but when Potsey comes in, the party starts.”

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