Dallas Stars decide to announce coaching staff change

Bowness stepping away as head coach effective immediately; assistants Stevens, Laxdal and Nelson will not return next season

Rick Bowness, during his time as assistant coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018. By Michael Miller – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

May 20, 2022

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Stars Head Coach Rick Bowness announced that he will be stepping away as Head Coach of the Dallas Stars effective immediately. Additionally, General Manager Jim Nill announced that assistant coaches John StevensDerek Laxdal and Todd Nelson will not return next season. 

“After careful consideration with my wife Judy, we feel it’s best to step away and allow the organization the opportunity to pursue a different direction at the head coaching position,” said Bowness. “I’d like to thank all the passionate fans and the dedicated staff for their support and hard work in my time here. It has been an honor for me, and my family, to represent the Stars and the city of Dallas.”

On Oct. 29, 2020, Bowness was announced as the 24th head coach in franchise history and the ninth in Dallas Stars history. Bowness joined the club as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2018-19 season and was named interim head coach on Dec. 10, 2019. Bowness proceeded to guide the team to a 20-13-5 record in 38 games behind the bench and a berth in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Under his leadership, the Stars earned postseason series wins over Calgary (4-2), Colorado (4-3) and Vegas (4-1) to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the 2000-01 season and the fifth time in franchise history. Since taking over as the team’s head coach, he posted an 89-62-25 record in 176 regular-season games, qualifying for the playoffs in two of his three seasons and accumulating an 18-16 postseason record. His .577 points percentage was the fifth-highest mark in franchise history.

“Rick is one of the most respected and beloved individuals to have ever coached in the NHL,” Nill said. “His dedication and commitment to the game, and the impact that he’s made on countless players, coaches and support staff throughout his five decades in the League is unmatched. He has dedicated his life to our game, and we are honored to say that the Dallas Stars are part of his legacy. When he was called upon to lead our team a few seasons ago, he stepped into the role seamlessly and helped guide our team through unprecedented global events that affected our players and staff both on and off the ice. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to wish Rick, Judy and the rest of their family nothing but the best moving forward.”

Bowness finishes his tenure with the Stars with 2,562 NHL games behind the bench as an assistant or head coach, the most by any individual in League history. He departs with a career head coaching record of 211-351-76 record in 638 games with Winnipeg (1988-89), Boston (1991-92), Ottawa (1992-96), the New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix (2003-04) and Dallas (2019-2022). Additionally, he served in assistant coaching roles with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning. He is also just one of three coaches in NHL history to have held a head coaching position in five different decades alongside Hockey Hall of Fame Honored Members Pat Quinn and Scotty Bowman.

“We wish John, Derek and Todd, as well as their families, all the best and are forever grateful for their contributions and hard work,” said Nill. “The search for a new head coach will begin immediately.


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