Islanders legend Mike Posey, whose scoring touch helped lead the franchise to four consecutive championships, died after a battle with terminal lung cancer. He was 65 years old.
Boss’ diagnosis was revealed last October, when he left his job as an NHL analyst for French language network TVA Sports to deal with his health.
“The battle I am about to fight will not be easy,” Bossi wrote at the time in French in an open letter. “Know that I will give 100 per cent, no less, with the goal of meeting you again soon, after an eventful hockey game. You will never be too far away in my thoughts. On the contrary, you will occupy a privileged place and you will be one of my motivations for improvement.”
Renaud Lavoie, a former colleague of Bossy’s at TVA, He was the first to report the news of his death.
Bossy played his entire 10-year career at Long Island, earning a spot as a superb franchise and one of the top scorers the sport has ever seen, before retiring due to a chronic back injury. He finished his career with 573 goals, and scored more than 50 goals in nine consecutive seasons, an all-time record. He is known to have scored 50 goals in 50 games during the 1980-81 season, matching Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s record.
Among his goals, former teammate Chico Resch told Sports Illustrated in 1981 that Bossy “scores as naturally as you and I get up in the morning and brush our teeth.”
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, with a roster of awards that includes eight All-Star appearances, three Lady Bing Awards, the 1981–1982 Con Smith Cup, and the 1977–78 Calder Cup.
“He was, needless to say, a skinny hockey player,” former teammate Bob Nystrom told The Post in October. “certainly.”
Bossy was also a vocal opponent of fighting in hockey, saying he would never engage in a fight, despite playing in an era when it was accepted as a regular part of the game.
“The New York Islanders organization is saddened by the loss of Mike Bossy, an icon not only in Long Island but throughout the entire hockey world,” said Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello. “His drive to be the best every time he steps on the ice has been second to none. Along with his teammates, he helped win four consecutive 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 who mourned this tragic loss.”
Michael Dean Posey was born in 1957, the sixth of 10 children and the fifth of Dorothy and Borden Posey’s sixth children. Growing up in Montreal with an English mother and Ukrainian father, he met his wife Lucy at a snack bar on the square where he played dwarf hockey when he was 14.
At the age of 15, Posey began playing in the Quebec Junior Hockey League for Laval Nationale, and his 532 points in QMJHL remain a record.
When he entered the NHL draft, Bossy’s aversion to fighting was mistaken for a lack of toughness, and he dropped to 15th overall, and nearly opted for the World Hockey League over the Islanders over the money.
“I did not think [Islanders general manager] Bill Toure was giving me enough, reminding me that I was the 15th drafted player, not the first.” “But I told him I deserved more because I was going to score for him. Bill asked me how much. I told him, “Fifty goals.”
Rarely has there been a more insightful self-assessment.
“Whether I’m into hockey or something else—like learning French, like cooking on a barbecue, washing my car—I’m a perfectionist,” Bossy told UPI in a 1986 profile. “Sometimes it’s an obsession — I look at myself and think I’m crazy. But it’s been with me my whole life, that drive. I just never feel good, maybe that’s one of the things that drives me the most.”
His personality is often described as aloof. He was seen during his playing career as a special person, and because he took breaks at home in Montreal, he wrote that he spent less time on Long Island than his teammates. However, Posey was such a beloved figure that the islanders raised his number 22 to the beams of the Nassau Coliseum just five seasons after his abrupt retirement in 1987 due to a back injury.
After hockey, Bossy worked as a radio comedian for a French-speaking station, vice president of Titan, public relations person and broadcaster for Quebec Nordic Networks, MSG Networks, and most recently TVA.
His death is another blow to the islanders, who have now lost three members of the 1979-80 championship team that launched one of the sport’s greatest dynasties since January. Clark Gillis died on January 21 and Jean Botvin on March 15.
The three tragedies shook the organization to its core.
“He’s an islander,” coach Barry Trotz said of Posey upon his diagnosis. “And he is clearly a legend of the islanders. … I kind of dread him. I used to watch him all the time.”
Posey is survived by his wife Lucy, daughters Josian and Tania, and two grandchildren.