Hockey Hall of Famer and New York Islanders great Mike Bossy has died, the team announced on Friday. He was 65. According to the Associated Press, Bossy died from lung cancer. He publicly announced his initial diagnosis back in October.
Bossy helped lead the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s and statistically is still one of the greatest goal scorers to ever play in the NHL.
"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."
After being selected as the 15th overall pick in the 1977 NHL Draft, Bossy was a member of the Islanders dynasty that won Stanley Cup championships from 1980 to 1983. Bossy still leads the Islanders with the most goals (573) in franchise history, and the star winger also tallied 1,126 points (third-most in franchise history) and 553 assists (third-most in franchise history). The Islanders legend played 10 seasons with the franchise before announcing his retirement in 1987 as a result of a back injury.
Bossy was one of the quickest players to reach 500 goals, with only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux achieving the feat faster. His 573 goals are currently good for 22nd on the league's all-time goals list. That's far from the only scoring accolade he holds.
The Islanders winger also scored 50 or more goals in each of his first nine seasons, which is still the longest streak in NHL history. Bossy and Gretzky are the only two players in league history to have nine 50-goal seasons throughout their careers. Bossy also is the only player to score four game-winning goals in the same playoff series, which he achieved against the Edmonton Oilers in the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals.
Bossy won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the 1981-82 season, which is awarded to the MVP of the playoffs. The Islanders star also led the league in scoring during the 1978-79 and 1980-81 campaigns.
Bossy still holds the Islanders record for most playoff goals (85) and an NHL record with 19 consecutive playoff series wins. The seven-time All-Star had his No. 22 retired by the Islanders on March 3, 1992.