Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness is stepping down as head coach after three seasons


Dallas Stars' Rick Bowness is stepping down as head coach after three seasons

Rick Bowness is stepping down as head coach of the Dallas Stars after three seasons, the team announced on Friday.

Bowness, 67, had his two-year contract expired after the Stars were eliminated by the Calgary Flames in seven games in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Assistant coaches Derek Laxdal, John Stevens and Todd Nelson will also not return to the Stars next season.

“After careful consideration with my wife, Judy, we believe it would be best to step down and give the organization an opportunity to take a different direction at the head coaching position,” Bowness said in a statement. “I want to thank all the passionate fans and dedicated staff for their support and hard work during my time here. It was an honor for me and my family to represent the stars and the city of Dallas.”

Bowness coached the Stars for parts of three seasons, posting an 89-62-25 record. As assistant coach at the time, he took over on an interim basis after the team parted ways with coach Jim Montgomery in December 2019. Bowness led Dallas to the Stanley Cup Finals during the “bubble” postseason necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. After that run, he was given a two-year contract.

Dallas didn’t make the playoffs in 2020-21 but took the first wildcard spot in the Western Conference that season and edged out Pacific Division leader Calgary by the distance before going into overtime in Game 7 with 2: 3 lost.

He was the 24th head coach in team history. His 0.577 point percentage was the fifth-highest mark in franchise history. General manager Jim Nill called Bowness “one of the most respected and loved personalities to ever coach in the NHL.”

Bowness has played 2,562 games as an assistant or head coach behind the bench, which for any individual is the most in NHL history. He has a career head coaching record of 211-351-76 in 638 games with Winnipeg (1988-89), Boston (1991-92), Ottawa (1992-96), the New York Islanders (1996-98) and Phoenix (2003 –04) and Dallas (2019–2022). He was also an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning. He is also just one of three coaches in NHL history to have held a head coaching position alongside Pat Quinn and Scotty Bowman of the Hockey Hall of Famers in five different decades.

β€œHis dedication and commitment to the game and the influence he has had on countless players, coaches and support staff throughout his five decades in the league is second to none. He dedicated his life to our game and we’re honored to say that the Dallas Stars are part of his legacy,” Nill said. “When he was called up to lead our team a few seasons ago, he seamlessly took on the role and helped in guiding our team through unprecedented global events that impacted our players and staff both on and off the ice. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to wish Rick, Judy and the rest of their family all the best for the future.”

Along with the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets, the Stars are now the fifth NHL team to seek a new head coach in the offseason. It’s expected to be a robust market for coaching candidates, from recently fired coaches like Barrydiot and Peter DeBoer to veteran bankers like Claude Julien, Paul Maurice, Alain Vigneault, Rick Tocchet and John Tortorella.

Mike Babcock and Joel Quenneville, two of the greatest coaches of all time, could also be available, although both bring significant baggage. Babcock has been accused of mental abuse by former players after being fired in Toronto. Quenneville resigned from the Florida Panthers after a report was released detailing how the Chicago Blackhawks abused allegations that a player was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach in 2010, when Quenneville was the team’s head coach.

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