Mike Bossy, Islanders Great and four-time Stanley Cup champion, dies at 65

Mike Bossy, one of hockey’s most prolific scorers and a star for the New York Islanders during their Stanley Cup dynasty in the 1980s, has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 65.

TVA Sports, the French-language network in Canada where he worked as a hockey analyst, confirmed Bossy died Thursday night. An Islanders spokesman said Bossy is in his hometown of Montreal where the team will play the Canadiens on Friday night.

Bossy helped the Islanders win the Stanley Cup four straight years from 1980 to 1983 and won the 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. In 1982 and 1983 he scored the goal to win the cup.

He revealed his diagnosis in a letter to TVA Sports in October.

“It is with great sadness that I must step away from your screens for a necessary break,” Bossy wrote in French. “I intend to fight with all the determination and fire you showed me on the ice.”

It is the Islanders’ third loss this year after fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Clark Gillies died in January and Jean Potvin in March.

Daughter Tanya Bossy said her father was “no more pain”.

“My father loved ice hockey, sure, but most of all he loved life,” she said in a statement in French on behalf of the Bossy family. “He persevered to the end of his journey. He wanted to live more than anything.”

Bossy was selected in the first round in 1977 and played his entire 10-year NHL career for New York. He won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year, received the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly behavior three times, and led the league in goals twice.

Bossy has scored 50 or more goals in each of his first nine seasons – the league’s longest streak. He and Wayne Gretzky are the only players in hockey history with nine 50-goal seasons.

No. 22 Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders skates during a NHL game circa 1978 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
No. 22 Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders skates during a NHL game circa 1978 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

Focus on Sports via Getty Images

“The New York Islanders organization mourns the passing of Mike Bossy, an icon not just on Long Island but throughout the hockey world,” said Lou Lamoriello, Islanders president and general manager. “His drive to be the best every time he stepped onto the ice was second to none. Along with his teammates, he helped win four straight Stanley Cup championships and forever marked the history of this franchise.”

Bossy is one of only five players to have scored 50 goals in 50 games. He remains the all-time all-time leader with .762 goals per game in the regular season, and only two players have recorded more hat-tricks than Bossy’s 39.

He ranks third in points per game and seventh in all-time goalscoring list. That’s all in the regular season, when Bossy put up some of the best numbers in the game’s history. In the playoffs, Bossy was even more clutch. He is the only player with four wins in the same playoff series and scored three goals in playoff overtime.

Led by Bossy, Gillies, Bryan Trottier and defenseman Denis Potvin, the Islanders replaced Scotty Bowmans Montreal Canadiens from the 1970s as the NHL’s next dynasty before Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers took over the sport.

Bossy was an eight-time All-Star, finishing with 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 regular-season games. He was the fastest player to reach 100 goals and is currently ranked 22nd on the list of career goals. In the playoffs, Bossy had 160 points in 129 games.

Back and knee injuries eventually ended his career in 1987. He was limited to 38 goals in 63 games and failed to return for an 11th season.

Bossy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 and was named one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players in 2017.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called Bossy a “dynamic winger” whose scoring skills are among the highest in NHL history.

“Although it was the obsession of opposing coaches to contain him and control him in the focus of opposing players, Bossy’s brilliance was unstoppable and his performance throughout his career was relentless,” Bettman said. “He thrilled the fans like few others.”

Before reaching the NHL, Bossy played five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Laval National. He had 602 points in 298 QMJHL games. Bossy also represented Canada at the Canada Cup in 1981 and 1984, well before NHL players began competing in the Winter Olympics. Mike Bossy, Islanders Great and four-time Stanley Cup champion, dies at 65

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