Rick Bowness Retires as Jets Coach After Lengthy Career

Rick Bowness, after a 40-year NHL career transitioning from player to coach and recently guiding the Winnipeg Jets to notable success, is contemplating retirement amidst uncertainty about his future with the team, marking the end of a distinguished tenure in hockey that included a first-time finalist nomination for the Jack Adams Award.

At 69, Bowness was on the brink of retirement. That was until the Jets threw him a lifeline with a two-year deal, plus an option for a third. Just last week, he admitted uncertainty about his future, needing a good chat with his family and the Jets before deciding anything.

His coaching journey? It’s been a long one. Over 40 years, in fact, with a recent nod as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. Under his guidance, Winnipeg clinched second in the Central Division, boasting 110 points and 52 wins. A record for the franchise.

Bowness’s NHL story started on the ice, drafted by the Atlanta Flames back in ’75. It wasn’t until his stint with the Red Wings, though, that he really made his mark. His playing career peaked with 61 games in one season before eventually winding down in the early ’80s.

Transitioning to coaching wasn’t immediate. After hanging up his skates, he took on a player-coach role in the AHL. By ’84, he was behind the Jets’ bench as an assistant. His head coaching debut? A tough interim gig with the Jets in ’89 that didn’t pan out.

But he bounced back. Joining the Bruins, he spent three seasons toggling between the AHL and NHL. Then came the challenge of leading the expansion Senators—a tough gig that ultimately saw him move on after a few seasons.

The years that followed saw Bowness lend his expertise to several teams. His roles varied, but head coaching opportunities were scarce. That changed with Dallas, where he stepped in mid-season and led the team to a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Despite a mutual parting with the Stars, Bowness wasn’t done. He returned to Winnipeg, where it all began. His final act? Leading the Jets to consecutive playoff appearances, though both ended in early exits.

Bowness wraps up his career with a mixed record but undeniable impact. As Winnipeg searches for his successor, his legacy of perseverance and adaptability remains. A true journeyman of hockey, leaving the game with respect and admiration.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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