Dallas Stars name Rick Bowness head coach after interim stint ended in Stanley Cup Final

Rick Bowness will remain behind the Dallas Stars’ bench after a successful interim stint at the end of the 2019-20 season.

The Stars announced Thursday that Bowness will become their full-time head coach. Bowness will be the 24th head coach in franchise history, and the ninth in Dallas Stars history. After being named to the interim role on Dec. 10, 2019, Bowness led the Stars to a 20-13-5 record before guiding Dallas all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, which ended in a six-game series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

“The Stars are very excited to officially announce Rick as the team’s head coach,” Dallas general manager Jim Nill said in a news release. “After being called upon in a difficult situation, Rick stepped into the interim head coaching role seamlessly and used his unmatched experience to lead the team to a successful second half of the season and a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. Watching the team throughout our playoff experience, you really saw the team become his. His ability to connect with our players and our staff is remarkable, and it leads to a situation where everyone is competing for him because they want to see him win.”

Bowness has held an NHL head-coaching position in five different decades, one of only three men to accomplish that feat (along with Pat Quinn and Scotty Bowman). Totaling parts of 10 seasons overall, Bowness has served as the head coach of Winnipeg (1988-89), Boston (1991-92), Ottawa (1992-96), the Islanders (1996-98,) Phoenix (2003-04) and now Dallas. His career record as a head coach is 143-302-48-8.

Prior to his coaching career, Bowness played parts of six NHL seasons, adding up to 173 games. That included stops in Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis and Winnipeg, during which he totaled 18 goals and 37 assists.

The Stars made their 2020 run to the Stanley Cup Final as the Western Conference’s third seed in the NHL’s two-bubble setup. They advanced past Calgary, Colorado and Las Vegas before falling to Tampa Bay.

In the Stars’ release Thursday morning, Bowness remarked that this hiring was great because it would allow him and Dallas to take care of some “unfinished business.”

“My wife Judy and I are thrilled to have this opportunity to continue our work here in Dallas,” Bowness said in the news release. “This team is very special for me, that time in Edmonton was unlike any experience I have ever had in hockey, and it brought us together as a staff and as a team. We had a great run to the Stanley Cup Final, but we have some unfinished business left and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to build on what we started.” 

One of the Stars’ top players, winger Jamie Benn, expressed happiness at the Bowness news on Twitter on Thursday morning. 

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