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Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness is retiring after 38 NHL seasons

Rick Bowness

Apr 30, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness talks to media after their loss to the Colorado Avalanche in game five of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

James Carey Lauder/James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness is retiring after 38 seasons in the NHL, a career that included leading the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 and more time spent behind the bench than anyone else in league history.

At 69, the oldest with a head role in the NHL, Bowness is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year for the first time after leading the Jets to a franchise-record 52 wins and a second consecutive postseason appearance in as many seasons on the job. The team announced Bowness’ decision roughly a week since being eliminated in the first round by Colorado.

The Moncton, New Brunswick, native worked 2,726 games as a coach in some capacity, the vast majority of it as an assistant across numerous roles dating to 1984. He is one of just three to coach across five decades, along with Hall of Famers Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn.

Bowness and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff are expected to speak with reporters later in the day in Winnipeg to discuss Bowness’ retirement. It was not immediately clear if associate coach Scott Arniel, who filled in for several games this season when Bowness was away for personal reasons, would be considered as a potential successor.

That was Bowness many times, taking over as a midseason replacement for the original Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes and then the Stars in late 2019. He also coached the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators and had lengthy stints as an assistant for the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning that included long playoff runs.