Hall of Famer Glen Sather retires after six decades, highlighted by building the Oilers’ dynasty

NEW YORK (AP) — Hockey Hall of Famer Glen Sather, who built and coached the NHL’s last great dynasty with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s and helped resurrect the New York Rangers in the early 2000s, is retiring after six decades in the sport as a player, coach and executive.

The Rangers announced the retirement on Wednesday, two days after the NHL season ended with the Panthers beating the Oilers in Game 7 for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Coincidently, the Panthers knocked off the Rangers to win the Eastern Conference final.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman congratulated Sather on a remarkable career highlighted by five Cup wins in seven years by the Oilers.

“Whether with the dynastic Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s, the contending New York Rangers clubs of recent years or various iterations of Team Canada, Sather always showed a keen eye for elite talent and a deft touch for bringing out its best,” Bettman said in a statement.

“As important, he cared deeply about his players as people, sought to develop them as men and supported them through any off-ice challenges,” he added.

Sather, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997 in the builder category, won five Stanley Cups as the Oilers’ general manager. He was also the head coach for the first four of them, with John Muckler in charge for the last one in 1990.

“Having the opportunity to be associated with the National Hockey League, and specifically the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers, has been one of the great privileges of my life,” Sather said in a statement.

Known to most as “Slats,” Sather is one of two people in hockey history who won at least four Stanley Cups as both a head coach and a general manager. Punch Imlach of the Toronto Maple Leafs is the other.

Sather led Edmonton to Cup championships in 1984, ‘85, ’87, ’88 and 1990. He served as a head coach in 932 NHL regular-season games with the Oilers and Rangers, compiling a record of 497-307-121-7.

In 126 Stanley Cup playoff games, Sather had a record of 89-37, and his .706 winning percentage in the playoffs is the best by any head coach in NHL history. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 1985-86.

A feisty third and fourth-line player, Sather immediately joined the coaching ranks upon his retirement following the 1976-77 season. He led the Oilers to 12 straight WHA and NHL playoff appearances, bucking the NHL trend of playing defense first.

Acquiring Wayne Gretzky from a cash-strapped owner helped with that, and combining with scout Barry Fraser to draft Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Andy Moog and Kevin Lowe in his first two years as general manager turned the Oilers into a powerhouse.

Sather served as Team Canada’s general manager and coach for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. In addition, he guided Team Canada’s 1994 Canada Cup championship, and he was the GM of the gold medal-winning team in the 1994 world hockey championship.

Sather played for Boston, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, St. Louis, Montreal and Minnesota in a 10-year career. He had 80 goals and 113 assists along with 724 penalty minutes. He was a member of the 1971-72 Rangers team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

At the time when Sather’s tenure as a general manager ended in July 2015, he held the NHL record for regular-season games (2,700) and regular-season wins (1,319) by a general manager.

Sather joined the Rangers in June 2000 as president and general manager. He served as president for his first 19 years and GM for the first 14 seasons. He also spent parts of two seasons as their head coach.

Over a 12-season span from 2005-06 to 2016-17, the Rangers were one of four NHL teams that reached the playoffs 11 times. In his final year as general manager in 2014-15, the team had 53 wins and 113 points — single-season franchise records at the time — and captured the Presidents’ Trophy for the third time.


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