05/20 14:43 CDT Rick Bowness won't return as coach of Dallas Stars
Rick Bowness won't return as coach of Dallas Stars
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
Rick Bowness will not return as head coach of the Dallas Stars after nearly
three seasons in which he led them to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final and the
playoffs again this year.
While Bowness was not under contract past this season, the 67-year-old coach
said in a statement released by the team Friday that he was stepping away to
"allow the organization the opportunity to pursue a different direction at the
head coaching position." The move doesn't necessarily mean Bowness is done
General manager Jim Nill said assistant coaches John Stevens, Derek Laxdal and
Todd Nelson also would not return.
Bowness has been on an NHL bench for a record 2,562 regular-season games as a
head coach or an assistant over nearly four decades. He was 89-62-25 as head
coach in Dallas, where he was a second-year assistant before being named
interim head coach in December 2019 after Jim Montgomery was fired for off-ice
After the Stars made the Stanley Cup Final in that pandemic-altered 2019-20
season, the interim tag was removed and Bowness got a two-year contract.
"Rick is one of the most respected and beloved individuals to have ever coached
in the NHL," Nill said. "His dedication and commitment to the game, and the
impact that he's made on countless players, coaches and support staff
throughout his five decades in the league is unmatched. He has dedicated his
life to our game, and we are honored to say that the Dallas Stars are part of
A hockey lifer, Bowness said after the season ended with an overtime loss in
Game 7 of the first-round series at favored Calgary that he still has the
passion to keep coaching. He said he would have opportunities to coach if he
"I'll have options, let's put it that way. If I want them, the options will be
there. I'm confident in that," Bowness said during a season-ending media
availability Tuesday. "You guys, you don't know yet, you're going to miss me
when I'm gone."
Bowness' stint as the Stars interim head coach included the 4 1/2-month pause
in the season because of the pandemic and two months in a postseason bubble in
Canada. There was then a shortened, 56-game season last year when the Stars had
an NHL-high 14 losses after regulation and missed the playoffs.
"When he was called upon to lead our team a few seasons ago, he stepped into
the role seamlessly and helped guide our team through unprecedented global
events that affected our players and staff both on and off the ice," said Nill,
who has one year left on his contract.
Dallas went into this year's playoffs as a wildcard team, but its 98 points
were a total the team had reached only once the previous 14 seasons.
Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn, both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and
Bowness are the only other head coaches with games in five different decades.
Bowness did so with Winnipeg (1989), Boston (1991-92), Ottawa (1992-96), the
New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix (2004) and Dallas (2019-22). He also was
an assistant for Vancouver and Tampa Bay.
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