Mike Bossy, Islanders legend, dead at 65

Islanders legend Mike Bossy, whose scoring touch helped the franchise win four straight championships, has died after a battle with terminal lung cancer. He was 65 years old.

Bossy’s diagnosis was made public last October, when he quit his job as an NHL analyst for the French-language TVA Sports network to take care of his health.

“The battle I am about to lead will not be easy,” Bossy wrote in French in an open letter. “Know that I will give my 100%, nothing less, with the aim of seeing you again soon, after a very eventful hockey game. You will never be very far in my thoughts. On the contrary, you will occupy a privileged place and you will be one of my motivations to get better.

Renaud Lavoie, former colleague of Bossy’s at TVA, was the first to announce the news of his passing.

Bossy played his entire 10-year career on Long Island, earning a place as both a franchise great and one of the top scorers the sport has ever seen, before retiring with a chronic back injury. He finished his career with 573 goals, scoring over 50 in nine consecutive seasons, an all-time high. Famously, he scored 50 goals in 50 games during the 1980-81 season, equaling Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s record.

Mike Bossy celebrates the Islanders' Stanley Cup victory in 1983.
Mike Bossy celebrates the Islanders’ Stanley Cup victory in 1983.
Getty Images

Of his scoring, former teammate Chico Resch told Sports Illustrated in 1981 that Bossy “scores goals as naturally as you and I wake up in the morning and brush our teeth.”

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, with a list of accolades that includes eight All-Star appearances, three Lady Byng Trophies, the 1981-82 Conn Smythe Trophy and the 1977-78 Calder Trophy.

“Needless to say, he was a slender hockey player,” former teammate Bob Nystrom told The Post in October. “That’s for sure.”

Bossy was also a vocal opponent of hockey fights, saying he would never get in a fight, even though he was playing in an era when it was accepted as a regular part of the game.

“The New York Islanders organization mourns the loss of Mike Bossy, an icon not only on Long Island but throughout the hockey world,” Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “His drive to be the best every time he stepped on the ice was unparalleled. Along with his teammates, he helped win four consecutive Stanley Cup championships, forever shaping the history of this franchise. On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our deepest condolences to the entire Bossy family and to all those who mourn this tragic loss.

Mike Bossy dead at 65
Mike Bossy
Getty Images

Michael Dean Bossy was born in 1957, the sixth of 10 children and the fifth of sixth sons of Dorothy and Borden Bossy. He grew up in Montreal with an English mother and a Ukrainian father, meeting his wife, Lucie, at the snack bar of an arena where he played midget hockey at the age of 14.

At age 15, Bossy began playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Laval National, and his 532 QMJHL points remain a record.

When he entered the NHL draft, Bossy’s aversion to fighting was mistaken for a lack of toughness, and he dropped to 15th overall, almost choosing the World Hockey Association over the Islanders instead. what money.

New York Islanders Mike Bossy holds a puck signifying he scored 50 goals in his first 50 games in 1981
New York Islanders Mike Bossy holds a puck signifying he scored 50 goals in his first 50 games in 1981

” I did not think [Islanders general manager] Bill Torrey was giving me enough, and he reminded me that I was the 15th player drafted, not the first,” Bossy told SI. “But I told him I deserved more because I was going to score goals for him. Bill asked me how much. ‘Fifty goals,’ I told him.

Rarely has there been a more prescient self-assessment.

“Whether it’s hockey or something else — like learning French, cooking on a barbecue, washing my car — I’m a perfectionist,” Bossy told UPI in a 1986 profile. “Sometimes it’s an obsession — I look at myself and I think I’m crazy. But it’s been with me all my life, this reader. I’m never satisfied, it’s probably one of the things that drives me the most.

His personality was often described as aloof. He was considered during his playing career as a private person, and because he spent the offseasons at his home in Montreal, it was written that he spent less time on Long Island than his teammates. Still, Bossy was a beloved figure, with the Islanders wearing his number 22 to the Nassau Coliseum rafters just five seasons after his abrupt retirement in 1987 due to a back injury.

After hockey, Bossy worked as a radio comedian on a French-language station, as vice-president of Titan, as a public relations manager and as a broadcaster for the Quebec Nordiques, MSG Networks and, more recently, TVA.

His death is another blow to the Islanders, who have now lost three members of the 1979-80 championship squad that kicked off one of the sport’s greatest dynasties since January. Clark Gillies died on January 21, Jean Potvin on March 15.

Mike Bossy attends a Nets game in 2014
Mike Bossy attends a Nets game in 2014
NBAE/Getty Images

The trio of tragedies shook the organization to its core.

“He’s living the Islanders,” coach Barry Trotz said of Bossy during his diagnosis. “And he’s obviously an Islanders legend. … I’m a bit in awe of him. I watched him all the time.

Bossy is survived by his wife, Lucie, his two daughters, Josiane and Tanya, and two grandchildren.