September 18th is an important day in hockey history for a few reasons. Not only will it mark the first time a ’young guns’ team has hit the ice at an international competition of this magnitude, it was also the day one of the greatest coaches of all-time was born.
September 18th, 1933 in Verdun, Quebec a boy was born who would change the hockey world. As most boys did in Canada, Scotty Bowman quickly took to hockey and was a talented winger, even making it into the Montreal Canadiens minor league system, until March 6th, 1952 when he was struck in the head with a stick and suffered a fractured skull. Bowman remembers having blurry vision and headaches that made him unable to play to the level he was used to. He missed only one game with the head injury, a stark contrast to the brain injury protections that our now in the game.
He’d turn his attention to coaching, and led the Montreal Junior Canadiens soon after. In 30 years of NHL coaching, Bowman would amass over 1200 wins, 28 playoff appearances and 9 Stanley Cups. He’d raise the cup for three different teams, and go down as clearly one of the top few coaches in all of hockey history, if not the single greatest.
As Bowman tweeted out himself this morning, this would have been his 50th NHL training camp, should he have attended one this year. At 83, he’s been a force in hockey for longer than many coaches have been alive, and is an inspiration to young players and front office types alike. Happy Birthday William Scott Bowman, and thank you.