Because of his talent and humility, Mike Bossy made a lasting mark on the history of the National Hockey League (NHL). Several personalities from the sports world came to pay their last respects at a funeral home on Montreal’s North Shore yesterday.
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Bossy died at the age of 65 after a month-long battle with cancer. From the testimonials collected in the lobby, we quickly realized that the New York Islanders’ past glory shaped people on multiple levels.
Bossy’s glittering career began with a recruiter who believed in his talent: Henry Saraceno. In 1977, he had convinced the New York Islanders to take the Quebecer in the first round, 15thand in total.
However, Mr. Saraceno never got the chance to see Bossy flourish in the NHL. He died of a heart attack in 1979. His son Mario, who has been a Boy Scout for Quebec Islanders for 43 years, is deeply touched by Bossy’s death.
“It’s a big gap for the whole family,” Mario Saraceno said as he left the funeral home. Mike was the link that connected us to our father. This is the very strong bond of the islanders.
“It’s a great loss for hockey, for Lucie, for Tanya, for Josianne, for the Islanders and for Quebec.
“What a great player! I don’t think he got all the recognition he deserved.”
Former referee and presenter Ron Fournier also offered his condolences to the family. He had known Bossy for forty years.
Like Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur, Bossy did not hesitate to share his thoughts with journalists. A facet that has disappeared in today’s gamers.
“The Rocket and Guy Lafleur were rebels. Fournier explained that Mike was not a rebel. Mike was a bossy guy. He, too, sometimes let himself go, but without being too much.
He also welcomes the announcement of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society, who will honor Bossy in the coming weeks.
“It’s an award he’s deserved for several years,” added Fournier. For whatever reason, it hadn’t been granted to him.
The same officer
Former speed skater Gaëtan Boucher had one thing in common with Bossy: he had the same agent. The two athletes were advised by Pierre Lacroix for several years.
“We had the same agent and it kind of bonded us. We lived in the same city and participated in various activities together over the years, Boucher said. I will remember his dedication and his simplicity. He was always honest.
“He also did that when he took up other jobs after his career.”
The funeral will take place this afternoon in a private ceremony. Islanders owners and former teammates John Tonelli and Bryan Trottier will be in attendance, as will Premier Francois Legault.