New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy, who helped guide the franchise to four straight Stanley Cup titles beginning in 1980, has died at the age of 65.
Islanders president Lou Lamoriello released a statement about the news Friday:
"The New York Islanders organization mourns the loss of Mike Bossy, an icon not only on Long Island but across the entire hockey world. 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."
The Montreal Canadiens also mourned Bossy, who was a native of the city:
Canadiens Montréal @CanadiensMTL
We’re saddened to learn of Mike Bossy’s passing this morning. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his friends, family, former teammates and TVA Sports colleagues.<br><br>A legend of our game who will be dearly missed. <a href="https://t.co/K5qLpt0NjC">pic.twitter.com/K5qLpt0NjC</a>
Bossy was one of the most gifted goal scorers to ever skate in the NHL. He made an immediate impact after the Isles selected him in the first round of the 1977 draft, scoring 53 goals in his debut campaign to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie.
He proceeded to score 573 goals in 752 regular-season games. His rate of 0.76 goals per game is still the best mark in NHL history.
His other accolades included seven All-Star Game appearances, three Lady Byng Trophies for sportsmanship and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 1982 playoffs.
Bossy was still playing at a high level, scoring 38 goals in 1986-87, and just 31 years old when he retired in 1988 because of lingering back problems.
In 2017, the NHL listed him among the 100 greatest players in league history as part of its centennial celebration.
There was an outpouring of condolences Friday on social media:
Dave Stubbs 🇨🇦 @Dave_Stubbs
Godspeed, Mike Bossy. A heartbreaking loss at age 65, adored as a husband, father, brother and teammate. Perhaps hockey’s purest goal-scorer ever. 4x Stanley Cup, 3x Lady Byng, 1x Calder & Conn Smythe, NHL-record 9 straight 50+ goal seasons. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIPMikeBossy?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIPMikeBossy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NYIslanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NYIslanders</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Isles?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Isles</a> <a href="https://t.co/hsuqK2ei5q">pic.twitter.com/hsuqK2ei5q</a>
In October, the Hall of Fame winger announced he was taking leave from his work as a broadcaster with Canada's TVA Sports to get 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," Bossy said. "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 was still playing."
Before reaching the NHL, Bossy scored 309 goals in 263 games for the QMJHL's Laval National.
Along with multiple broadcasting roles, he also spent time in the Islanders' front office following his on-ice retirement.