Kenny Jonsson: The Islanders Sweet Swede, Now a Nassau Hall-of-Famer
By Stan Fischler
February 11, 2012
One of the first National Hockey League teams to appreciate the talent of Swedish defensemen, the Islanders launched their four-Stanley Cup dynasty with Stefan Persson starring on the back line.
Persson later welcomed another starry Swedish d-man, Tomas Jonsson, who also wears two Cup rings.
Following in this line of distinguished Scandinavian defensemen in Nassau, the Islanders honored Ken Jonsson on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum prior to the Kings-Islanders game.
The tall, reserved Jonsson played the same steady, two-way game that proved to be the template for frequent Norris Trophy winner, Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings.
“Kenny was the most underappreciated player I ever coached,” said MSG analyst and former Islanders coach Butch Goring. “He gave it his all each game and he was a terrific player.”
Like previous honorees -- Ed Westfall, Ken Morrow and Patrick Flatley -- Jonsson took center stage and those close to the club suggested that Jonsson was more emotionally touched by the occasion than of the aforementioned.
A banner adorned with Jonsson’s name was lifted to the Coliseum ceiling accompanied by a standing ovation.
Some of Jonsson’s former teammates joined in delivering meaningful kudos including ex-Islanders goalie and general manager Garth Snow.
“It was a tremendous honor to be a teammate with Kenny,” said Snow. “He played so hard each game and was the perfect captain.”
Former partner and Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin on Jonsson:
“Kenny never made a mistake. He was the steadiest player I’ve ever played with.”
Jonsson led the Islanders out to the ice before the game as the crowd chanted “Kenny, Kenny, Kenny” and applauded his family, who accompanied Ken to center ice.
“I am so proud to be inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame,” concluded Jonsson. “I am blessed to be a part of the New York Islanders history.”
And, thus, a distinguished performer accompanied others from yesteryear into the Isles Pantheon!
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