Hockey legend Mike Bossy dies of cancer at age 65

New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy of Montreal, Quebec passed away on Friday at the age of 65 of cancer. Recognized as the heart and soul of the New York Islanders during the glory years of the franchise, Bossy was the offensive spark plug of the team that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.  He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

In 752 regular season games from 1977 to 1987, Bossy had 573 goals and 553 assists for 1126 points. He was a +380 with 210 penalty minutes, 378 power-play points, nine shorthanded points, and 2709 shots on goal. Bossy was also a National Hockey League First-Team All-Star from the right wing position on five occasions, won the Lady Byng Trophy three times, and the Calder Trophy, and Conn Smythe Trophy each once.

It was in the playoffs where Bossy made his biggest mark. He was part of an Islanders dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups immediately after the Montreal Canadiens had a dynasty of their own from 1976 to 1979. In 129 postseason games, he had 85 goals and 75 assists for 160 points. The biggest goal arguably came in game one of the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals, as Bossy scored an unassisted marker with two seconds left in the first overtime period, in a 6-5 Islanders win over the Vancouver Canucks.

In the latter stages of his professional hockey career, Bossy battled back pain. Doctors determined that damaged discs in his lower back were not repairable through surgery. Despite opportunities to prolong his career with the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings, Bossy turned those chances down, and decided to play his last NHL game in 1987 at the age of 30. If healthy, Bossy could have easily got to 700 goals.

Following his NHL career, he worked regularly as a television analyst with the Quebec Nordiques, then CKOI FM Radio, and since 2014, an intermission analyst with TVA Sports. It was difficult for Bossy to workout on a regular basis, because of the back pain he endured from his hockey career.