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Maloof brothers helped Mike Bossy recover historic puck

Although it gets cold enough for ponds to freeze in New Mexico, where VGK minority owners the Maloof brothers are from, people who live there are more apt to fish than play hockey on them.

That said, when Gavin Maloof awoke several years ago to read that the puck Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders had shot into the net against the Quebec Nordiques for his 50th goal in his 50th game during the 1980-81 season was being auctioned off, they were aware of Bossy and the significance of that accomplishment.

Gavin Maloof and brother Joe didn’t know how Bossy had lost possession of the keepsake. Nor did they care. But they correctly assumed that given the immortal “Rocket” Richard had been the only one to score 50 goals in 50 games before Bossy did it, he might want that puck back.

The brothers wound up paying $6,850 for it on eBay before returning the puck to its rightful owner.

It seemed like a small price to pay, especially after the Hall of Fame goal sniper died April 15 of lung cancer at age 65.

“We stayed in touch for a little while (and) he came out to a game,” said Gavin Maloof, whose family, now based in Las Vegas, also owned the NBA’s Sacramento Kings from 1998 until 2003. “He was a gentleman, a wonderful, wonderful person.”

Bossy’s young daughter supposedly had given her dad’s 50 in 50 puck to her swimming coach. What happened with it from there until the time the Maloofs became involved is unclear.

“There was a back story … some tension over the puck,” Gavin Maloof said, so when the brothers acquired it, they flew the Hall of Famer to Las Vegas and presented it to him over dinner. “It (meant a lot) to him, and I’m sure his daughter really appreciated that we got the puck back for her father.”

Before they broke bread, Bossy and the brothers posed for photos with the puck in front of a scale model of T-Mobile Arena before it was even called that.

“I have some friends who are Islander fans, and they were really appreciative of what we did,” Maloof said bashfully about the benevolent gesture and about the night the historic puck — and the man who shot it — stopped here.

Around the horn

— Former Las Vegas Thunder coach Butch Goring, on the recent passing of Mike Bossy and fellow Islanders dynasty teammates Clark Gillies and Jean Potvin: “We won four Stanley Cups together and lost the fifth. You go through all that and you have this great companionship, this great friendship, and it never leaves you. Those are the things that a lot of us are starting to think about … we’re not going to see those people again, and that’s really, really hard.”

— It wasn’t that long ago when Neal Smatresk was UNLV’s president and his biggest worry seemed to be how to remove a coating of scarlet and gray from his face after painting it for Rebels basketball games. Smatresk’s named popped this week in stories about an uber-conservative student rabble-rouser named Kelly Neidert at the University of North Texas, where he is now president.

— Why bowling is better than baseball: Gregory Box of Waukesha, Wisconsin, rolled the 14th perfect game of the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open at South Point Bowling Center Monday. When the 64-year-old right-hander was asked if he needed help after the seventh frame — like Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw during his recent perfect game attempt — a bystander jokingly said he scoffed, took another slug from his beer and tossed five more strikes.


South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, on the future of the USFL’s reboot (before learning the Pittsburgh Maulers, who play all their games in Alabama, cut a player for trying to order pizza instead of chicken salad at the team hotel):

“A guy just came up to me and said he would like to take 4 to 1 that the USFL does not finish the season. Sounds like a fair price.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.