The entire organization had basically already confirmed that Rick Bowness would be back as the head coach of the Dallas Stars in 2020-21, but today they made it official. Bowness has left behind his interim tag and becomes the full-time head coach moving forward. Stars GM Jim Nill released a statement on the move:
The Stars are very excited to officially announce Rick as the team’s head coach. 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 of course led the Stars all the way to the Stanley Cup Final as an interim coach, taking over midseason after Jim Montgomery was fired for unprofessional conduct. The team had a 20-13-5 record down the stretch with him behind the bench, before winning the Western Conference in the return to play tournament.
For that, and the way players have obviously responded to the long-time NHL coach, it was an obvious choice to bring him back next season if Bowness wanted to. Amazingly, it might have been the unique bubble situation that actually convinced Bowness to return as head coach, a position he hasn’t held on a full-time basis in more than 20 years. Bowness explained:
My wife Judy and I are thrilled to have this opportunity to continue our work here in Dallas. 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.
The Stars, armed with one of the most valuable players in the entire league, Miro Heiskanen (relative at least to his entry-level salary), will bring back mostly the same unit next season after mostly passing on the free agent market. It will be Bowness’s job to somehow get that group back to the promised land.
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