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NHL hockey legend Jean Potvin, Stanley Cup champ and Catholic Charities staff member, dies at 72

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Former NHL great Jean Potvin, left, and Peter J. Striano are seen in this undated photo at an event for Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens in the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y. Potvin died March 15, 2022, at age 72. A defenseman, he played 11 seasons in the NHL, including on the first two of the New York Islanders' four Stanley Cup championship teams in the 1980s. From 2013 to 2018, he worked for Catholic Charities in Brooklyn on the agency's development and communications team. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens)

ELMONT, N.Y.  — Retired New York Islanders defenseman Jean Potvin, who played on two Stanley Cup championship teams, died March 15 in Weston, Florida. He was 72.

No cause of death was given.

From 2013 to 2018, Potvin worked for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, on the agency’s development and communications team. He also volunteered in the community, serving on the board of the Nassau County Boy Scouts of America on Long Island.

Msgr. Alfred LoPinto, president and CEO of the Catholic Charities agency, recalled Potvin being recommended by a longtime board member for a position as senior vice president specializing in fundraising. Potvin had worked as a stockbroker and salesman for investment firms after his hockey career.

“After interviewing Jean, it became evident he would be a good fit for the open position in development,” Msgr. LoPinto said in a statement to Catholic News Service. “Jean had one request before starting — he needed to see the programs and meet staff and those served by Catholic Charities.

“After the visits, Jean’s heart was on fire for the work of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, and it was the fire in his heart that drove him to fundraise successfully for the agency and its programs,” the priest said.

Potvin was “as persistent as a fundraiser as he was a great defensive player on the ice, never missing an opportunity to score.” Msgr. LoPinto continued. “Jean was a loving husband, father, and proud grandfather. He was all heart, and it was with his heart that he spoke to Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens donors.”

Potvin played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League, the bulk of the time with the Islanders, where he teamed with his younger brother, Denis, in the first years of what became a dynasty in the early 1980s.

He also played for the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Potvin family,” Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. “Jean was a leader on the ice, helping the organization win two Stanley Cup championships. He made his home on the Island and was always such a friendly face in our community. We send our sincere condolences to all those who grieve his loss.”

Potvin’s final two seasons were the Islanders’ first two Stanley Cup years, in 1980 and 1981. He scored 63 goals and had 224 assists in an NHL career that began in 1970.

Following retirement Potvin worked on Islanders radio broadcasts for eight seasons.

He was born March 25, 1949, in Ottawa, Ontario. His father, Armand, was a civil servant; his mother, Lucille (St-Louis) Potvin, was a homemaker and a caterer.

Potvin began his junior hockey career in 1967 with the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey Association,[alongside his brother Denis, who became a Hall of Fame defensemen.

Potvin is survived by his wife, Lorraine; his daughters, Kim Lomasney and Leslie Moreau; his son, Justin; four grandchildren; and his brother Denis and another brother, Robert.