Scotty Bowman: A coach for the ages
Scotty Bowman is a living legend in the world of professional sports.
A larger-than-life figure, Bowman has shattered nearly every coaching record in the NHL.
However, long before he would emerge as the winningest coach in NHL history, Bowman was first named head coach of the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1967-68.
Not wasting any time, Bowman would lead the team to the Stanley Cup final in each of its first three seasons, but in 1971 left the team due to a dispute with the team's ownership.
Bowman then joined the Montreal Canadiens as head coach. It was behind the Habs' bench where Bowman would learn what it took to build a champion.
A brilliant tactician, Bowman outwitted opposing coaches on a nightly basis, keeping them guessing with his every move.
Bowman would go on to lead the Habs to four straight Stanley Cups from 1976 though 1979. In doing so he created a Canadiens dynasty that remains one of the greatest in league history.
Bowman's attention to detail and relentless coaching style kept his players grounded and focused on what mattered most, winning a Stanley Cup.
A master of motivation and mind games, he knew how to get the most out of every player he handled, from superstars to role players.
After guiding the Habs to five Stanley Cups over eight years behind the Montreal bench, Bowman would go on to raise the Cup four more times as head coach of the Penguins and Red Wings.
In Pittsburgh, Bowman moulded the multi-talented club into a well-rounded squad that could control play at both ends of the ice.
Bowman's stout leadership helped propel the Penguins to the 1992 Stanley Cup final, where they were crowned champions for the second consecutive season.
In 1994, Bowman took his winning record to Detroit, and before long his magic was rubbing off on the Red Wings.
Bowman earned a permanent place in the hearts of Red Wings fans in 1997 by leading the team to its first Stanley Cup in 42 years.
The following year his experience at keeping a dominant team hungry came in handy as he guided the Red Wings to a repeat championship.
During the 2002 season, Bowman announced that he would retire from coaching at season's end, but before he left, his hockey fairytale would finish with a storybook ending.
The Red Wings won the Cup in dominating fashion, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in five games.
Nothing left to prove
Following the presentation of the Stanley Cup, Bowman was seen on the ice surface wearing skates and letting his players and fans know that he had retired.
With nothing left to prove, Bowman retired from active NHL coaching with an unprecedented hockey resumé.
Throughout his career, he made 28 total playoff appearances and won an incredible nine Stanley Cups in a career that spanned thirty-four years.
Bowman also holds the record for the most regular-season games coached (2,141); most wins in a regular season (1,244); and most wins in the playoffs (223).
Bowman's success is so impressive it exceeds the record books of hockey and the NHL.
He is the only coach in the NHL, NFL, NBA or MLB to lead three different teams to championship titles, a truly remarkable feat.
He was simply one of the best coaches of any sport in any era.
Bowman, stands alongside distinguished leaders like football's Vince Lombardi, basketball's Arnold 'Red' Auerbach, and baseball's Casey Stengel and Connie Mack.
In 1991, the most decorated coach in the history of the game took his rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
There hasn't been a coach as successful with as many teams or as many generations of athletes as Bowman. He was truly the best of the best.