Manitoba

Winnipeg Jets announce Rick Bowness as new head coach

The NHL franchise made the announcement in a tweet Sunday afternoon. Bowness, 67, spent most of the past three NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars.

Bowness, 67, led Dallas Stars to 2020 Stanley Cup final

Rick Bowness smiles while speaking to reporters at the Dallas Stars' season-ending media availability in Frisco, Texas, on May 17, 2022. Bowness has now signed with the Winnipeg Jets to be the team's head coach. (LM Otero/The Associated Press)

The Winnipeg Jets have announced that Rick Bowness will be the team's new head coach.

The NHL franchise made the announcement in a tweet Sunday afternoon. Bowness and Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will speak to reporters Monday at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg.

Bowness, 67, spent most of the past three NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars.

He becomes the third permanent head coach named by the Jets since the club relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011.

"We're very excited to hire Rick Bowness as the third head coach of Jets 2.0," Cheveldayoff stated in a news release Sunday.

"Rick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, both in the NHL coaching ranks and as a player and coach in the city of Winnipeg. Rick is a fantastic hockey mind and an even better person and we're confident he will lead this team to new heights."

Bowness is taking over from Dave Lowry, who was named interim head coach after Paul Maurice stepped down in December following nearly nine years as Jets head coach. Maurice is now the head coach of the Florida Panthers.

The Jets finished the 2021-22 season sixth in the Central Division, and were out of the playoffs with a 39-32-11 record.

In the months following Maurice's departure, speculation abounded over who would replace him on the Jets' bench.

In June, some of that speculation focused on Stanley Cup-winning coach Barry Trotz, who had recently been fired by the New York Islanders. A social media campaign urged Trotz — who grew up in Dauphin, Man. — to return to his home province.

But Trotz turned down the offer, telling NHL.com that he won't pursue a coaching job in the league for the 2022-23 season.

Reports started surfacing this past weekend that the Jets were close to naming Bowness as their next head coach.

Bowness has been on an NHL bench as a head coach or an assistant for a record 2,562 regular-season games over nearly four decades.

He led the Dallas Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup final in the playoff bubble in Edmonton, where the Stars lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bowness, standing, with the Dallas Stars during a regular-season game in April 2022. The 67-year-old started his coaching career with the Jets, culminating in 28 games running the bench to close the 1988—89 season. (LM Otero/The Associated Press)

His Stars bowed out in seven games to the Calgary Flames in the first round of this year's playoffs. The Flames won Game 7 in overtime.

While Bowness was not under contract past this season, the coach said he was stepping away from the Stars to "allow the organization the opportunity to pursue a different direction at the head coaching position."

The Stars hired Pete DeBoer to replace Bowness last month. 

Started coaching career in Winnipeg

Bowness, a native of Moncton, N.B., started his coaching career with the original Jets team in the 1980s.

Following stints as a player-coach and assistant coach in Winnipeg, as well as coaching AHL affiliates in Sherbrooke, Que., and Moncton, he took over as the Jets' head coach in February 1989, culminating in 28 games (8-17-3) running the bench to close the 1988-89 season.

"I'm tremendously excited for the opportunity presented to me by Kevin Cheveldayoff, Mark Chipman and the ownership group to serve as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets," Bowness stated in Sunday's news release.

"It's amazing that 40 years after the original Jets gave me my first taste of coaching, I get to return to Manitoba to lead this talented group of players in front of such a passionate fan base."

Prior to coaching, Bowness played in several NHL teams, spanning 173 games for Atlanta, the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of the story mentioned the Jets relocating from Arizona. In fact, the team relocated from Atlanta.
    Jul 03, 2022 2:04 PM CT

With files from The Canadian Press

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