Islanders legend Mike Bossy passes away at 65

Mike Bossy
Jan 29, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates onto the ice in front of Islanders legend Mike Bossy before Bossy is honored before a game against the Boston Bruins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Bossy, who was the goal scoring machine of the New York Islanders dynasty of the early 80s winning four straight Stanley Cups has passed away at age 65. This has been a difficult year for the Islanders franchise, after losing Clark Gillies in January.

Reporter Renaud Lavoie broke the sad news this morning in a tweet.

“It’s with deep sadness that I just learned the passing of Mike Bossy,” he said. “Sending my sincere Condolences to the family.”

Earlier this month, The Hockey News reported that Bossy had entered palliative care. They took down the article after some criticism. The Bossy family did not speak to the report other than saying he is resting peacefully at home.

Mike Bossy battled lung cancer

Mike Bossy
Mike Bossy (NHLI)

This past October, Bossy revealed he was battling lung cancer that forced him to step down from TVA Sports. He did so in a letter to fans.

“Today it is with sadness that I must retire from your screens for a mandatory break,” Bossy wrote in French. “A necessary break during which I will have to receive treatment for lung cancer.

“I can tell you that I intend to fight with the determination and the enthusiasm that you have seen me display on the ice and in my game. That same determination that helped me achieve my dreams and my goals, the one that propelled me to the top of my sport, when I still put on my skates.”

While Bossy battle valiantly, he has sadly succumbed to this terrible disease.

A four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Islanders (1980-83), Bossy recorded 1,126 points (573 goals, 553 assists) in 752 career games. He spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the team and was named to eight All-Star teams.

Bossy won the 1978 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year, and the 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. He also was a three-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy recipient (1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86).

A chronic back injury forced Bossy to retire following the 1986-87 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

NHL and Islanders statement on Mike Bossy

“The New York Islanders organization mourns the loss of Mike Bossy, an icon not only on Long Island but across the entire hockey world,” Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello said. “His drive to be the best every time he stepped on the ice was second to none. Along with his teammates, he helped win four straight Stanley Cup championships, shaping 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 grieve this tragic loss.” 

New York Islanders

“Though containing him was the obsession of opposing coaches and checking him the focus of opposing players, Bossy’s brilliance was unstoppable and his production relentless throughout his entire career. He scored 53 goals and won the Calder Trophy in 1977-78, and his goal-scoring never waned until the injuries that prematurely ended his career limited him to 38 goals in his final season of 1986-87 – the only season he didn’t eclipse 50 goals. Voted a First Team All-Star five times, he won the Lady Byng Trophy three times and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1982. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and named one of the NHL’s Top 100 Players in 2017, Bossy was one of our game’s all-time greats.

Commissioner Gary Bettman