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Lightning hires Rick Bowness as associate coach

Rick Bowness spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant.

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Rick Bowness spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant.

The Lightning on Monday hired Rick Bowness as an associate coach and to lead the defense and penalty kill.

"We were looking for experience," coach Jon Cooper said. "It was a no-brainer for us."

Bowness, 58, has been a head or assistant coach in the NHL for 24 years, and has a wealth of knowledge that will be a huge help to Cooper in his first full season as an NHL head coach. Bowness spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant. He was fired as part of a housecleaning that included coach Alain Vigneault after Vancouver was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Sharks.

Cooper said Tampa Bay had face-to-face interviews with five other candidates.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have added NHL coaching veteran Rick Bowness to the position of associate coach on head coach Jon Cooper’s staff today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

“We are extremely pleased to add Rick Bowness to our coaching staff today,” Yzerman said.  “With 24 years of NHL coaching experience as both a head coach and an assistant, we are confident Rick will be a valuable addition.  We look forward to having him behind the bench next season.”

Bowness spent the previous seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, beginning his tenure there as an assistant and later being elevated to associate coach. The Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all but one of Bowness’ time behind the bench, including an appearance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

A native of Moncton, New Brunswick, Bowness has served on the coaching staff of six teams during his coaching career, the Winnipeg Jets (1984-89), Boston Bruins (1991-92), Ottawa Senators (1992-96), New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix Coyotes (1999-06) and the Canucks (2007-13), in varying capacities.  He was the head coach on five occasions, with the Jets in 1988-89, Bruins in 1991-92, Senators from 1992-96, Islanders from 1996-98 and in Phoenix in 2003-04.

Bowness began his coaching career with the Sherbrooke Jets of the American Hockey League, serving as a player/coach during the 1982-83 season.  He spent the following four seasons as an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets before returning to his hometown in 1987 to act as the coach and general manager of the Moncton Hawks of the AHL.  Bowness had his first NHL head coaching stint when he took over as interim head coach for Winnipeg for the final 28 games of the 1988-89 season.

The following year, Bowness joined the Bruins organization.  He coached the Maine Mariners of the AHL for two seasons before taking over as head coach in Boston for the 1991-92 season.  That year he led the Bruins to a 36-32-12 record and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. From there Bowness was named the first coach of the Ottawa Senators and spent three and a half years as head coach with the expansion franchise.  While the team struggled on the ice, Bowness was regarded for his positive style and was credited with the development of many of the Senators’ young stars.  Bowness joined the Islanders on December 30, 1995 and worked two seasons as associate coach.  He took over head coaching duties in January of 1997.  Bowness then went on to coach in Phoenix for the following six seasons, including a stint as interim head coach in 2003-04.

Prior to beginning his coaching career, Bowness played seven seasons, from 1975-92, in the NHL as a right wing with the Atlanta Flames, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg.  He appeared in 173 games, recording 18 goals and 55 points with 191 penalty minutes.  He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the second overall of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft.

[Last modified: Monday, June 3, 2013 3:21pm]


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