The time machine takes us to November 1973. Mike Bossy begins to burn the fledgling Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. At the age of 16, the Laval national rookie already has 20 goals to his tally.
my bosses Montreal morningthe first daily newspaper I worked for asked me to meet the young phenomenon.
Bossy receives me in the apartment where he lives with his parents in Chomedey, near the Récréathèque, which no longer exists.
The National pays half the rent.
This is the compromise that Johnny Rougeau proposed to the family when Mike was 12 so that he could continue his little hockey on Laval territory.
Embarrassing to embarrassing
Mike’s mother can’t believe a major newspaper is running an article about her boy.
As for Mike, he’s terribly embarrassed. He does not yet understand the universe he is entering.
That flashes the camera disturb him. He’s so uncomfortable that he makes the young journalist make me uncomfortable.
I’m looking for a way to get him out of his shell.
I don’t remember if it was my suggestion or his initiative, he starts showing me the trophies that decorate the walls of the living room.
Again he speaks little.
The TV thing
A miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower on the TV catches my attention.
Then the contact is established.
Bossy tells me the tower is a souvenir he brought back from France from a tour against pee-wee teams in that country, when he played with the Saint-Alphonse recreational team.
“You know, he says, you don’t really know what happens when you’re 12 years old. We visited some interesting places there.
“But we were more concerned with slaughtering the French on the ice than caring about the Eiffel Tower, the Grenoble Olympic facilities, the museums and all the rest. »
What drives Bossy is scoring goals.
He finishes the season with 70 goals.
Not bad for a youngster!
The lid pops open!
The time machine takes us to April 5, 1977.
The place: the Palais des Sports de Sherbrooke.
Bossy and the National resign in the Quarterfinals in front of the Sherbrooke Castors’ mighty machine.
The final score: 7 to 0 beavers.
But nobody predicted that the series would hit the seven-game limit.
Just after the Castors’ fifth goal, in the fifth minute of the third period, Bossy went head-to-head with stalwart defender Floyd Lahache, who has had 225 penalties this season.
The accumulation of hits he’s taken in his four seasons with the National has pushed him to the limit.
As long as we’re done with Junior, we might as well settle scores.
Bossy is fine.
“I still defended well,” he said.
“I don’t think Lahache had the upper hand. I hit him as many times as he hit me. »
The price to pay
Nevertheless, Bossy ends his youth career in a bad way.
He suffers from a torn ligament in a thumb, an injury that predates his fight with Lahache, doctors say.
He’s uncomfortable with a rib, the result of a hard check from Beavers strongman Jimmy Mann in the first half of game seven.
“It was like that for four years, but I was on my pill,” he said.
“I think it was perfectly normal for me to be the subject of such surveillance. But I have a little regret that despite all the beatings I received, that first career is over.
“I know it wasn’t all in vain, because there is something in the end. That’s what matters. »
Marriage and the NHL
Bossi is 20 years old. He has his whole life ahead of him.
Two months after his last meeting with the National, on June 14 to be precise, he was drafted 15thand by the New York Islanders.
The following July 23, he reunites his destiny with Lucie Creamer, who, with the utmost discretion, will be his accomplice in life for almost 45 years.
Bossy has become a man. A man of exception and principle who has become an ace of the microphone.
Although he had learned about my profession when we first met, he certainly had no idea that hockey would lead him to a career in the media.
My deepest condolences to you, Mrs. Creamer, your daughters Josiane and Tanya, your entire family.