Rick Bowness is set to reach a major milestone as he coaches game number 2,500 of his regular-season career. This game will be his 578th game as a head coach with 1,923 as an assistant previously.
If you consider the tenure of most NHL coaches at any level, this is one impressive milestone.
Who is Rick Bowness?
Rick Bowness was born on January 25th, 1955, in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. With an early love for hockey, Bowness would start his hockey career in the Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), playing for the Quebec Remparts. He’d play 30 games in the 72′-73′ season and then play 34 with the Remparts the following year before being traded to the Montreal Bleu Blanc Rouge. Having played 71 games with them, Bowness was then drafted into the NHL. The Atlanta Flames drafted the 6’1″ 185-pound right-winger in the second round with the 26th overall pick. He’d continue his journey in the NHL with multiple moves between leagues but ultimately played from 1975-1984 with the Atlanta Flames, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and the Winnipeg Jets.
A Long Coaching Career
Bowness uniquely began his coaching career as a player-coach in the 1982-83′ season with the Sherbrooke Jets. In 1984 he would join the Winnipeg Jets as an NHL assistant. After three years with the Winnipeg Jets, Bowness would become the Head Coach of the Moncton Hawks for a year and a half. During the second half of that year, Bowness was promoted to the Head Coach of the Winnipeg Jets. However, he’d only coach 28 games to close out the season by missing the playoffs and be replaced the following year. With two more years as an AHL coach with the Maine Mariners, the 90′-91′ season would be the last time he coached in the AHL.
The Jump To Full Time NHL Coach
In the 91′-92′ season, Bowness would spend one season with the Boston Bruins as a head coach. From there, he spent three and a quarter seasons with the Ottawa Senators before being fired 19 games into the 95-96′ season. The Islanders hired him as an associate coach in the 96′-97′ season. He would then spend two partial seasons as a head coach with the Islanders before joining the Phoenix Coyotes in the 99′-00′ season as an assistant coach. He would spend seven seasons with the Coyotes, including a 20 game stint as the head coach. In the 06′-07′ season, Bowness joined the Vancouver Canucks as an associate coach for seven seasons, including a run to the Stanley Cup FInals in 2011. After his seven-year run with the Canucks, he would join the Tampa Bay Lightning for five years.
The Dallas Stars
Rick Bowness joined the Dallas Stars as an assistant in the 2018-2019 season before being named the head coach in the 2019-2020 season. The Dallas Stars in his first year would make and lose in the finals, but Bowness has maintained his above-average .500 win percentage. I’m sure Stars fans would like to see the team have better success at making the playoffs and a chance at winning, but one thing is for sure; they have the most experienced coach in NHL history.