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Bowness retires after nearly 40 years behind NHL benches

David Lipnowski / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness announced his retirement Monday.

Bowness is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year after leading the Jets to a 52-24-6 record in 2023-24. The club lost to the Colorado Avalanche in five games in Round 1.

The 69-year-old took a month-long leave of absence from the team early in the season after his wife, Judy, was hospitalized by a seizure.

Bowness and Hall of Famers Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn are the only bench bosses to hold an NHL head coaching position in five different decades. His first NHL job was as an assistant coach with the original Winnipeg Jets franchise for the 1984-85 campaign. He eventually became the head coach of the Jets for one season in 1988-89.

"Bones" also served as head coach of the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, and Dallas Stars. The pinnacle of Bowness' coaching career came in 2020 when he led the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bowness also went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks and in 2015 as an associate coach with the Lightning.

His 2,726 games as an NHL head coach or assistant are the most by anyone in league history.

The Jets are now one of seven NHL teams without a full-time head coach.

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