Within a year where both Jean Potvin and Clark Gillies have been lost, it was announced today that after a lengthy battle with lung cancer, Canadian forward Mike Bossy, one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history and a New York Islanders legend, today lost his battle, passing away at the age of 65.
The 15th overall pick of the Islanders in the 1977 NHL Draft, Bossy spent his entire ten-season pro career on the Island, the centrepiece of the Islanders 1980’s dynasty, winning four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-83. One of the greatest goal scorers in league history, Bossy is the only player with nine consecutive 50 goals seasons, and just one of two with five straight 60 goal seasons, retiring with 573 goals and 1126 points in 752 career regular season games, after a chronic back injury ended his career prematurely. Bossy was just as dangerous a threat in the postseason, notching 85 goals and 160 points in 129 career games, leading the playoffs in goals three times and once in points, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1982. Bossy also captured two league scoring titles (1979, 1981), the Calder Trophy as top rookie (1978), and the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly conduct four times (1982-84, 1986). Bossy, just the second player after Maurice Richard to score 50 goals in 50 games, was named to the “NHL 100” in 2017, and inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
Thanks to never having missed the playoffs in his entire pro career, Bossy never suited up for Canada at the World Championships, but was a key member of the 1981 and 1984 Canada Cup squads. In the former, he notched 11 points in 7 games en route to a second place finish, while at the latter he notched 9 points in 8 games, the most famous being his semifinal overtime winner over the Soviet Union to propel Canada to the finals, where they easily dispatched Sweden to win their second ever Canada Cup.
Our condolences go out to the Bossy family, as well as the extended hockey community in his hometown of Montréal, adopted home of Long Island, and across the hockey world on the tragic loss of a legendary Hall of Famer.