Mike Bossy, a prolific scorer during the New York Islanders’ dynasty years, has died of cancer. He was 65.
Bossy, a Montreal native taken 15th overall by the Islanders in the 1977 draft, played on a line with fellow future Hall of Famers Bryan Trottier and Clark Gillies and set the then-NHL rookie record with 53 goals.
The winger, considered one of the top pure goal scorers in NHL history, would miss 50 goals only once in his career, in his final season. He tied Wayne Gretzky with most 50-goal seasons at nine and most 60-goal seasons at five. He holds the NHL record with nine consecutive 50-goal seasons.
In his fourth season, Bossy tied Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s mark of 50 goals in 50 games, scoring twice in the final five minutes of a Jan. 24, 1981, game against the Quebec Nordiques. He finished with 68 goals that season, one of two times he led the league in goals.
He was equally prolific in the playoffs. During the Islanders’ four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-83, he led the postseason in goals three times (17 each time). He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1982.
Bossy also was a seven-time All-Star. A critic of fighting in hockey, he won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship three times.
He retired after a 38-goal season in 1986-87 because of back issues and finished his 10-season career with 573 goals and 1,126 points. His 0.76 goals-a-game scoring pace is the highest in NHL history.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. The Islanders retired his number 22 the following year.
“His drive to be the best every time he stepped on the ice was second to none,” Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. “Along with his teammates, he helped win four straight Stanley Cup championships, shaping the history of this franchise forever.”
Bossy became a broadcaster for TVA Sports in 2015 but announced last October that he was stepping aside because he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Lucie, their daughters, Josiane and Tanya, his former Islanders teammates and his countless fans on Long Island, the New York metropolitan area and throughout the hockey world,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “He thrilled fans like few others.”
Bossy is the third former Islanders player to die recently. Gillies died in January and Jean Potvin, who played eight seasons with the team, died in March.