Soon after right wing Mike Bossy retired from the New York
Islanders in 1988, he found that the human funny bone could be
just as inviting a target as the corner of a hockey net. Bossy
was living in his native Montreal when CKOI-FM, a
French-language radio station, invited him to read the sports
news one morning. Soon he was hired for an afternoon show, and
two years later was cohost of Quebec's top-rated morning show,
Y'e trop d'bonne heure (It's too early).
Whether improvising a rap song about Quebec separatism or
boarding an imaginary minisubmarine to visit the enflamed
appendix of then Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy,
Bossy was a zany but well-mannered host--sort of Howard Stern
gone to finishing school. He proposed sumo kayaking, relay
parachuting and downhill basketball to fatten the Olympic
program, and suggested the Nordic combined would be more
compelling with simultaneous shooting and ski jumping. He once
phoned a Parisian bistro to request the French equivalent of Pop
Tarts. "But we have no such thing," the woman replied after
consulting two chefs, three waiters and a dictionnaire
gastronomique. "No?" said Bossy. "How 'bout Cheez Whiz?" When an
electronics store opened, Bossy phoned the shop and proposed
warning labels explaining the difference between hibachi and
Hitachi. "That way," Bossy told the bewildered store manager,
"customers won't insert baked potatoes into their VCRs."
Today Bossy, whose 573 career goals and four Stanley Cups with
the Islanders earned him election to the Hockey Hall of Fame in
1991, lives with his wife, Lucie, and their two teenage
daughters in Montreal, where he works in public relations for
Humpty Dumpty potato chips. Bossy left the show in '96, but says
he wouldn't rule out another chance to tickle funny bones. "I
crave challenges," he says, "especially those that make people
Although chronic back pain forced Bossy from the game at age 30,
he won three Lady Byng Trophies as the NHL's most gentlemanly
player, was named MVP of the 1982 playoffs and averaged the most
goals per season (57.3) in league history--not bad for a finesse
player who was passed over by 14 teams in the '77 draft because
scouts said he couldn't check a suitcase. "Guys knew Boss
wouldn't fight. They'd punch him, spear him, it didn't matter,"
says Bryan Trottier, Bossy's longtime linemate. "He didn't need
much room. The guy was so creative, he could make something
special with just a half inch."
Or a Pop Tart.
COLOR PHOTO: ANTHONY NESTE (COVER)
COLOR PHOTO: RONALD C. MODRA
Bossy proposed sumo kayaking, relay parachuting and downhill
basketball for the Olympics.