The hockey card in question. (Photo: puckjunk.com)
I was at a family reunion/birthday party on the weekend and my little hockey crazed cousin had just turned 9 years old. As strange as this may sound, he is enthralled with hockey cards. Unbelievable for someone of his generation as hockey cards are not as powerful as they once were. For 9 years old he’s still a bright kid and upon looking through his box of newly opened cards, he came across one that he didn’t know of.
“Ashley, who’s Mike Bossy?”
Gather around kiddo. Let me tell you a story.
Mike Bossy grew up in Montreal, Quebec and started his hockey career with the Laval National of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In the 5 years he spent with Laval he tallied 309 goals but was still off of the radar by some NHL scouts, often being referred to as too timid to make the big time. By the time the NHL Entry Draft came around in 1977, 12 teams shunned him away. At pick 15 though, the Islanders made the legendary choice.
To prove the nay-sayers wrong, Bossy predicted he would score 50 goals in his rookie season. He came good on that promise not only in that year but in his whole career. He never scored under 50 goals until his final year in 1987. Placing him on a line with Bryan Trottier and Clark Gillies proved to be successful and the Long Island Lighting Company was born (aka the LILCO line). Decades earlier Maurice Richard had stunned to the National Hockey League by scoring 50 goals in 50 games. Many thought it would never be broken. Well, Mike Bossy had other plans. In the 1980-1981 season, Bossy became the second player to notch 50 in 50 and set a right-winger scoring record with 147 points in an 80 game schedule.
Being a detrimental part of the New York Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty is just one part of a storied career for Mike Bossy. He remains tied with Wayne Gretzky for most 50+ and 60+ goal seasons, and tied with Cam Neely for most goals scored in a playoff season. In fact he ranks very highly in most NHL statistics throughout the years. In his decade long attachment with the New York Islanders, Bossy played in 752 games and amassed an INCREDIBLE 1126 points.
Retiring at the age of 30 in 1987, it was a no brainer to have this man inducted early into the Hockey Hall Of Fame. 1991 saw that honour notched onto his resume and the following year, the New York Islanders retired his #22 to the rafters of Nassau Coliseum.
Mike Bossy remains not only one of the greatest Islanders of all time but one of the greatest hockey players to ever lace up the skates. Some of his records may not even be matched or broken. Thanks to the decisiveness of Al Arbour at the 1977 Draft, Bossy became and remains a Legend Of Long Island.