Bowness will return as Stars coach

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Rick Bowness will return as coach of the Dallas Stars.

He was promoted after Jim Montgomery was fired Dec. 10, 2019 for unprofessional conduct. The Stars went 20-13-5 in 38 games under Bowness and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, when they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

“This team is very special for me, that time in Edmonton (in the Stanley Cup Playoffs) was unlike any experience I have ever had in hockey, and it brought us together as a staff and as a team,” Bowness said Thursday. “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.”

Bowness was hired as a Stars assistant June 22, 2018, after five seasons as associate coach for the Lightning. The 65-year-old is 143-302-8 with 48 ties as an NHL coach for the Winnipeg Jets (1988-89), Boston Bruins (1991-92), Ottawa Senators (1992-96), New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix Coyotes (2003-04) and Stars.

“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,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “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, who has been an NHL coach for five decades, played 173 NHL games in six seasons from 1975-81 with the Atlanta Flames, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Jets.

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