New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy has died at the age of 65 after battling lung cancer, the team announced Friday morning.
Bossy, who revealed the diagnosis in October, was one of the greatest goal-scorers in NHL history and a key member of the Islanders' dynasty that captured four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.
"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 in a statement. "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."
Bossy, a Montreal native, was drafted 15th overall by the Islanders in the 1977 NHL Draft. He became the first rookie in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, netting 53 during the 1977-78 campaign to win the Calder Trophy.
He went on to record 50 or more goals in each of the first nine seasons of his career, leading the league with 69 in 1978-79 and 68 in 1980-81.
In 1981, Bossy became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in 50 games, joining Maurice “Rocket” Richard.
Bossy, who retired in 1987 at the age of 30 due to a back injury, finished his 10-year career with 573 goals and 553 assists in 752 games. He is tied with Wayne Gretzky for the most 50-goal seasons (nine) and 60-goal seasons (five) all time. Bossy's .762 goals per game average remain the highest in NHL history.
He tallied 85 postseason goals, including a midair backhander during the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals that Bossy told The New York Post was his favorite goal.
Bossy won the 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 and named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players during the league's celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2017.
Bossy announced his lung cancer diagnosis in October and took a leave of absence from his role as an analyst with Montreal-based network TVA to receive treatment.
"I can assure you that I intend to fight with all the determination and all the passion that you have seen me display on the ice and in my game," Bossy wrote in an open letter. "This same determination that has helped me achieve my dreams and count my goals, the one that propelled me to the top of my sport, when I was still lacing my skates."
The loss of Bossy marks a difficult stretch for the Islanders organization, with former players Clark Gillies and Jean Potvin also having died in recent months.