Anytime Mike Bossy can visit B.C. is a good time for the former New York Islander.
“I especially like going to places that have some extra meaning to them,” explained the now 61-year-old from back home in Montreal.
Long-time fans of the Canucks franchise are likely aware Bossy and his New York Islanders topped Vancouver in the 1982 Stanley Cup Final. It marked the third of four consecutive Stanley Cups for the franchise.
And Bossy was an integral part of those squads, scoring 573 goals and 1,126 points in just 752 career NHL games, all with the Islanders. He was forced to retire following the 1986-87 season because of a back injury, but even in that final season, he managed 38 goals and 75 points in 63 games.
Not surprisingly, Bossy was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 while his number 22 jersey was retired by the Islanders in 1992. During the 1980/81 season, he became just the second player in league history to record 50 goals in 50 games, a feat accomplished just eight times.
Bossy will be one of six members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in attendance as part of the 2018 Legends Weekend Presented by White Spot. It runs November 16 to 18 at Langley Events Centre.
Joining Bossy over the course of the weekend will be fellow Hockey Hall of Fame members Marcel Dionne, Dale Hawerchuk, Mark Howe, Guy Lafleur and Bernie Parent, as well as former NHL stalwarts Marty Howe, Dennis Hull and Mike Palmateer. Major League Baseball pitcher James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners and Dr. Murray Howe, author of Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father, will also be in attendance. The three Howes are the sons of the late, legendary Gordie Howe.
Despite Bossy’s earlier than anticipated retirement, he has long stayed involved in the game, including working for the Islanders in their corporate sponsorship department. These days he is working as a television analyst for RDS, the French NHL broadcaster back in Quebec.
“I have always been someone who has never shied away from giving my opinion,” Bossy explained, adding that trait combined with his hockey knowledge made for a seamless transition into becoming a hockey analyst. What does Bossy see in today’s game, compared to his era?
“Once they got rid of the clutching and grabbing and the red-line, the game has become a speedier game, no doubt about that,” he said. “And the abilities are nice to watch and there are some very, very talented players playing the game.”
Less clutching and grabbing, and superior stick technology, also make for a different game, which leads to the question: which era would Bossy preferred to play in?
“It is all hypothetical, it is tough to say. I enjoyed the era I played in and obviously I am not going to trade anything I had.”
The players are signing autographs over the course of the Western Canada Expo, which features more than 150 vendors selling collectables, memorabilia, retail merchandise and more.
The BC Sports Hall of Fame will also have their Dream Card Collection on display. This rare collection of hockey cards contains every mass-produced hockey card between 1951 and 1995 and features such gems as rookie cards for Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur as well as several other rare cards.
Fans with tickets to either Vancouver Giants home games on November 16 (vs. the Regina Pats at 7:30 p.m.) or November 18 (vs. the Victoria Royals at 4:00 p.m.) get into the Western Canada Hockey Expo for free on those specific days. Tickets for the Western Canadian Expo are $5 and kids 12 and under are free. One free autograph will be available from Marcel Dionne (Friday) and Dennis Hull (Sunday). Fans are permitted to bring their own memorabilia, and some will also be available to purchase.