Stars drop interim tag, name Rick Bowness head coach

Rick Bowness
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The Dallas Stars have removed the interim tag from Rick Bowness and announced he is their new full-time head coach.

“The Stars are very excited to officially announce Rick as the team’s head coach,” said Stars general manager Jim Nill. “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.”

Bowness, who had been an assistant with the team since 2018, took over the Stars’ gig in December following Jim Montgomery’s dismissal. Bowness was previously a head coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets, and Ottawa Senators. An NHL lifer, he is one of three NHL coaches, along with Pat Quinn and Scotty Bowman, to hold the position in five different decades.

A successful interim job

It was clear that as the Stars’ season went on, which ended with an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, that the organization wanted Bowness to return. Nill said he had “definitely” earned the right to come back following their win in the Western Conference Final. That was supported by owner Tom Gaglardi.

“I’m very comfortable with Rick Bowness being our coach,” Nill said earlier this month. “These are his players now. That’s the type of relationship he has, and as far as I know he wants to come back, and we’ll move forward with that. When we were in the bubble, you watched how our team played, they played hard, they played as hard as any team in the playoffs, they were organized. You can tell they played for their coach, and their coach loved to coach them.”

Despite the way he took over the job, Bowness indicated that he still wanted to be an NHL head coach. His efforts with the Stars were successful in turning around their season and now he has been rewarded.

“I know I’m getting up there, and there’s a lot more behind me than ahead of me,” Bowness said last month. “But I still have the passion. That’s the most important thing. … I’m just going to keep pushing.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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