Mike Bossi, a member of the Islanders’ Champions Hall of Fame, dies at 65

Mike Bossi, the winger of the Hockey Hall of Fame, who played a key role in leading the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s, has died. He was 65 years old.

The islanders announced his death, but did not provide other details. Barefoot revealed in October that he had lung cancer.

The Islanders, founded as an extended team of the National Hockey League in 1972, won just 12 games in their first season at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island and were not much better the following season.

But they began to reach the playoffs under general manager Bill Torrey and coach Al Arbor, which brought together teams including Bossi on the right wing and his teammates Brian Trotier in the center, Clark Gillis on the left wing, Dennis Potwin on defense and Billy Smith on the door.

The Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver Cunks and Edmonton Oilers in their 1980-1983 Stanley Cup championships, then lost to the Oilers in the 1984 Cup final.

The Canadian-born Bossi was one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and had an incredible ability to get away with wrist kicks before the opposing goalkeepers knew the puck was coming their way.

“Mike has the fastest hands I’ve ever seen,” said Arbor, a former quarterback who played with Gordy Howe of the Detroit Red Wings and Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks.

Barefoot twice led the NHL in goals, 69 in the 1978-79 season and 68 in the 1980-81 season. He scored at least 51 goals in each of his first nine seasons before a back injury limited him to 38 goals last season. His 85 goals in 129 playoff games were the most in NHL history at the time.

Bossi scored 573 goals and made 553 assists in 752 regular season games for 10 seasons in the NHL, all with the Islanders.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

Sophisticated and slightly complex, Bossi avoided harsh checks and refused to get into a fight.

“The boys knew he wasn’t going to fight,” Trottier told Sports Illustrated in 1999. They were going to hit him, pierce him with a spear, it didn’t matter. He didn’t need much space. The man was so creative that he could do something special with only half an inch. “

“I probably developed what the scouts called my quick hands and quick release, more of self-defense than anything else,” Bossi recalled in his memoir, The Boss: The Story of Mike Bossi (1988, with Barry Meisel).. “The NHL was zoom, zoom, zoom compared to the juniors. I learned to make quick passes and make quick shots to avoid hitting every time I had the puck. ”

Barefoot won the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play in 1983, 1984 and 1986. He spent just 210 penalty minutes.

He was selected by the Islanders as number 15 in the NHL amateur draft in 1977 after being overtaken by teams that, despite his remarkable goal in junior hockey, believed he lacked the testing skills to survive the NHL.

It didn’t take long for Bossi to prove otherwise. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1977-78 as rookie of the year in the NHL, scoring a rookie’s record 53 goals in 15 years. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the 1982 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Michael Bossi was born on January 22, 1957 in Montreal, one of the 10 children of Borden and Dorothy Bossi. His father is of Ukrainian descent and his mother is English. Borden Bossi flooded the backyard of the family home in the winter to create an ice rink, and Mike learned to skate at 3.

He left Laval’s Catholic High School to join Laval’s Quebec Youth Hockey League national team at the end of the 1972-73 season and played in four full seasons for Laval, scoring 309 goals.

Then came his choice from the islanders in the draft.

Bossi’s career in the NHL was interrupted by a chronic injury. At the beginning of the islanders’ training camp in 1986, he experienced back pain. He missed 17 games in the regular season and injured his left knee in the playoffs when the Flyers eliminated the Islanders in the preliminary round. Eventually, doctors determined that he had two damaged discs that could not be repaired by surgery. He missed the 1987-1988 season, then retired from hockey in October 1988.

The Islanders withdrew Bosse’s 22nd number in March 1992, making them their second most honored player after Potwin.

Barefoot married Lucy Creamer and had two daughters with her. Full information about his survivors was not immediately available.

Bossi, who was bilingual, started a business venture and broadcasting job in Canada after the end of his career as a player. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he left his job as a hockey analyst at the Montreal-based French language channel TVA Sports.

Despite all that Bossi and his Stanley Cup champions have achieved, the islanders lacked the charisma of his contemporary, the center of the Oilers Hall of Fame Wayne Gretzky, and the Greek team at Edmonton, which won four Stanley Cups in the 1980s.

“We’ve never received a million of the recognition we need,” Bossi once told Sports Illustrated. “We had a very tailored organization. They didn’t want the boys to do too much because they thought hockey could hurt. People don’t talk about us at the first mention of great teams. “

He added: “I guess as I get older, I get tired of telling people I’ve spent more than 50 or nine consecutive years. Everything I say sounds like I’m upset, but I’m not anything. It’s just that when you do something good, as our team did, you want to be recognized for it. ”

As for comparisons to Greek, Bossi told The New York Times in January 1986, when he became the 11th player in NHL history to score 500 goals: “People call him the Great Greek. I can’t compete with that. I feel comfortable with what I helped my team achieve. Whether I think of Wayne Gretzky as the greatest thing after apple pie is another question.

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