Long before Bruce Boudreau led the Capitals through the early days of the Rock the Red era, he took his first coaching job as a player-coach with the Fort Wayne Komets in 1990.
Boudreau would return to Fort Wayne as the head coach only in 1993. Twenty-seven years later, Boudreau's son, Ben, will be entering his second season as head coach of those very same Komets.
"For him to have the same ownership group as me and to continue in the tradition of the family is wonderful," Bruce said.
Bruce ultimately coached the Komets for two seasons, leading them to the IHL finals and winning coach of the year in 1994. He would eventually work his way from the IHL to the ECHL to the AHL and finally the NHL with Washington and eventually Anaheim and Minnesota, too.
Now it's all come full circle with Ben getting hired in Fort Wayne at age 34.
"The same ownership hired my son in his first head coaching gig and he did well last year," Boudreau said.
Fort Wayne is now in the ECHL -- the second-level of minor-league hockey in North America. The Komets are affiliated with the Vegas Golden Knights. Ben Boudreau is off to a good start with a 67-49-10-8 record in two seasons with a playoff berth in 2019 and a strong showing this past season cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Boudreau is thrilled to see Ben following in the same business, but he also had a tongue-in-cheek word of warning for his son.The coaching life is rewarding, but it isn't easy. The Boudreaus know that first hand.
"He used to make a big deal of it and say, 'Hey, you know what dad? I'm hired by the Komets, just like you,'" Boudreau said. "'You won in your first year, but I didn't, but it's really cool.' And I said 'Yeah, don't get too high on your horse there, Ben. Won the coach of the year the first year and I got fired halfway through the second year and you've got the same owners so beware.'"