Winnipeg Jets formalize return of Rick Bowness as head coach

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Rick Bowness returns to his roots.

The Winnipeg Jets announced the hiring of Bowness as head coach on Sunday after several days of speculation.

Bowness, 67, who becomes the team’s eighth head coach in franchise history and third since the club’s move to Winnipeg, began his coaching career with the Jets, culminating in 28 games with the bench to close the 1988-1989 season.

The former right-winger ended his NHL playing career with Winnipeg in the 1982 playoffs.

“I am extremely pleased with the opportunity given to me by Kevin Cheveldayoff, Mark Chipman and the ownership group to be the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets,” Bowness said in a statement. “It’s amazing that 40 years after the original Jets gave me my first taste of coaching, I can return to Manitoba to lead this group of talented players in front of such a passionate fan base.”

Bowness has spent the majority of the last three NHL seasons coaching Dallas, leading the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals in the playoff bubble in Edmonton, where the Stars lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Stars lost in overtime in Game 7 to Calgary in the first round of the playoffs this year.

Although Bowness, a native of Moncton, N.B., has not been under contract since this season, he said he was leaving the Stars to “allow the organization to pursue a different direction as a coach. -chief “. The Stars hired Pete DeBoer to replace Bowness last month.

Dave Lowry ended last season as Winnipeg’s interim head coach after current Florida coach Paul Maurice stepped down in December.

“We are very pleased to hire Rick Bowness as the third Jets 2.0 head coach,” said Winnipeg general manager Cheveldayoff. “Rick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, both through the NHL coaching ranks and as a player and coach in the city of Winnipeg. Rick is a fantastic hockey spirit and an even better person and we are confident that he will lead this team to new heights.”

Bowness led the Stars to an 89-62-25 record in 176 regular season games. Under Bowness, Dallas also went 18-16 in the playoffs.

Bowness was drafted in the second round (26th overall) in the 1975 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Flames. His NHL career spanned 173 games for Atlanta, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets where he recorded 55 points (18G, 37A) and 191 penalty minutes. Bowness played 45 games with the Jets in the 1980-81 season and played and coached with the organization for nine seasons until 1988-89.

He spent the 1982-83 season as a player-coach for the Jets’ AHL branch in Sherbrooke and retired after the season to become an assistant coach for Winnipeg. He worked three seasons as an assistant with the Jets before becoming head coach and general manager of their AHL affiliate, the Moncton Hawks, from 1987-88.

Bowness became Winnipeg’s head coach on Feb. 9, 1989, and led them to an 8-17-3 record.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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