Mike Bossy, Islanders legend, died at age 65

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

Bossy’s diagnosis became public last October when he left his job as an NHL analyst for the French-language network TVA Sports to manage his health.

“The fight I am about to lead will not be easy,” Bossy wrote in French at the time in an open letter. “Know that I will give 100 percent, nothing less, with the aim of meeting you again soon, after a very eventful hockey match. 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 motives for getting better. ”

Renaud Lavoie, a former colleague of Bossy’s on TVA, was the first to report the news of his passing.

Bossy played his entire 10-year career on Long Island, earning a spot as both a great franchisee and one of the best goal scorers the sport has ever seen before retiring with a chronic back injury. He ended his career with 573 goals and scored over 50 for nine seasons in a row, a record through time. He famously scored 50 goals in 50 games in the 1980-81 season, matching Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s record.

Mike Bossy celebrates the Islanders, who won the Stanley Cup in 1983.
Getty Images

About 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.

“He was, needless to say, a skinny hockey player,” former teammate Bob Nystrom told The Post in October. “That is for sure.”

Bossy was also a vocal opponent of hockey, saying he would never take part in a match, despite playing in an era where 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 across the entire hockey world,” said Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello. “His quest to be the best every time he stepped on the ice was second to none. Together with his teammates, he helped win four Stanley Cup championships in a row and shaped the history of this franchise forever. On behalf of the entire organization we send our deepest condolences to the entire Bossy family and all those who mourn this tragic loss. ”

Mike Bossy has died at the age of 65
Mike Bossy
Getty Images

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

As a 15-year-old, Bossy started playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for Laval National, and his 532 QMJHL points are still a record.

When he entered the NHL draft, Bossys reluctance to fight was confused with a lack of toughness, and he dropped to 15th overall, almost by choosing the World Hockey Association instead of the Islanders over money.

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

“I did not think so [Islanders general manager] “Bill Torrey offered me enough, and he reminded me that I was the 15th player to be drafted, not the first,” Bossy once told SI. “But I told him I deserved more because I wanted to score goals for him. Bill asked me how many.” Fifty goals, “I told him.

Rarely has there been a more foresighted self-evaluation.

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

His personality was often described as remote. He was considered a private individual during his playing career, and because he spent free time at 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 raising his No. 22 to Nassau Coliseum’s rafters just five seasons after his abrupt retirement in 1987 due to a back injury.

After hockey, Bossy worked as a radio cartoonist on a French-language station, as vice president of Titan, as a PR person and broadcaster for Quebec Nordiques, MSG Networks and most recently TVA.

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

Mike Bossy is participating in a Nets match in 2014
Mike Bossy is participating in a Nets match in 2014
NBAE / Getty Images

The trio of tragedies have shaken the organization to its core.

“He lives Islanders,” coach Barry Trotz said of Bossy after his diagnosis. “And he’s obviously an islander legend. I’m a little honored by him. I used to see him all the time.”

Bossy leaves behind his wife, Lucie, his two daughters, Josiane and Tanya, and two grandchildren.

Leave a Comment