Scotty Bowman

William Scott Bowman, OC (born September 18, 1933) is a Canadian retired National Hockey League (NHL) head coach. He holds the record for most wins in league history, with 1,248 wins in the regular season and 223 in the Stanley Cup playoffs and ranks 2nd all time (behind Jean Béliveau's seventeen) for most Stanley Cup victories by a player, coach or executive with fourteen. He coached the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings. He is currently the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks (his son, Stan, is the team's general manager). Bowman is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NHL history.[1]

Scotty Bowman
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1991
Scotty Bowman at the 2006 NHL Awards
Born (1933-09-18) September 18, 1933
Verdun, Quebec, Canada
PositionSenior Advisor of Hockey Operations
TeamChicago Blackhawks
Previous team(s)St. Louis Blues
Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres
Pittsburgh Penguins
Detroit Red Wings
Stanley Cup wins9 (1972-73, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1991-92, 1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02)
Years as a coach1956–2002
Years as an NHL coach1967–2002

As head coach, Bowman has won a record nine Stanley Cup championships; five with the Canadiens (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979), one with the Penguins (1992) and three with the Red Wings (1997, 1998, and 2002). He has also won five Stanley Cups as a member of an organization's front office. He was director of player development for the 1991 Penguins, Consultant with the 2008 Detroit Red Wings, and Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the 2010, 2013, and 2015 Chicago Blackhawks. Bowman is the only NHL coach to lead three teams to Stanley Cup victories.[2] Bowman won the Jack Adams Award in 1977 and 1996. In the 1976–77 season he won a record 60 games, breaking his own record of 58 wins the year before. He broke his own record again in the 1995–1996 season, with 62 wins. His 8 losses in 1976–77 are a modern record. His teams also made it to the Stanley Cup Finals a record 13 times and the semi-finals a record 16 times.

Early years

Bowman was born on September 18, 1933 in Verdun, Quebec, Canada. He played minor league hockey until a fractured skull resulting from a slash by Jean-Guy Talbot ended his playing aspirations.[3]

Coaching career

He started coaching with the Ottawa Junior Canadiens in the Quebec Junior Hockey League in 1956. Two years later, the team coached by Bowman and managed by Sam Pollock won the Memorial Cup in 1958. Soon thereafter, he moved into a coaching job with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHA), the Montreal Canadiens' junior farm team.

St. Louis Blues

Bowman moved into the NHL in 1967 when he joined the expansion St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach under general manager/coach Lynn Patrick. However, Patrick resigned after a slow start, and Bowman started as coach at age 34. The Blues caught fire, and made it to the Stanley Cup finals in their first three years of existence. Bowman also served as general manager after Lynn Patrick gave up the job in the summer of 1968. Bowman remained in St. Louis until the end of the 1970–71 season, but left due to a dispute with team ownership.

Montreal Canadiens

Bowman then joined the Montreal Canadiens as head coach. Though the Canadiens were the defending champions, Al MacNeil had been sacked as head coach due to accusations of favoritism toward the team's anglophone players. Bowman was hired in part because he is fluently bilingual in English and French. His team lost in the first round of the playoffs in 1972 but won the Stanley Cup in 1973. The Canadiens would make the playoffs over the next two seasons but lost in the first and third rounds, as the rival Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup.

From 1976 to 1979, Bowman won four consecutive Stanley Cups with a talented Canadiens squad that included Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Larry Robinson and Ken Dryden. Bowman's team won at least 45 games in each of his eight seasons. However, after a falling-out with ownership, Bowman stepped down after the 1978–79 season. The reason for the falling-out was the team's decision to pass him over as the new General Manager of the club in 1978 after Sam Pollock's retirement, as they hired Irving Grundman instead.[4] The Canadiens' dynasty ended after Bowman and several key players left the team. Bowman remains second all-time in Canadiens history in both wins and winning percentage, behind Toe Blake in both categories.

Bowman and General Manager Sam Pollock not only presided over a Canadiens dynasty, but many of their players went on to have successful coaching and managing roles with their own teams.

Buffalo Sabres

For the 1979–80 season, he moved to the Buffalo Sabres as coach and general manager. He served as the team's general manager until 1987, doubling as coach on three separate occasions. During this time, he missed the playoffs for the only time in his coaching career, in the 1985–86 season. He left the Sabres as coach with the highest franchise win rate in their history. He has since been passed by Lindy Ruff.

Bowman joined the Sabres around the same time that their stars were growing old. While the Sabres remained competitive for much of his tenure, he was unable to build them into anything approaching the powerhouses he'd coached in Montreal. Bowman was relieved of his duties during the 1986-87 season and replaced by Gerry Meehan 12 games into the season. Scotty then become an analyst for the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

Pittsburgh Penguins

He became the Director of Player Personnel of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 as a builder.[5][6]

In the summer, Bob Johnson, who had just won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins, was diagnosed with brain cancer and Bowman took over as head coach. Johnson died on November 26, 1991. Under Bowman, the Penguins repeated as Stanley Cup champions in a season dedicated to Johnson.

The next season, the Penguins had their first 100-point season in franchise history and finished with the league's best record. The 1992–93 Penguins under Bowman set the NHL record for consecutive wins in the regular season with 17. Their 119 points is still a franchise record. In the playoffs, the Penguins were upset in seven games in the Patrick Division finals by the New York Islanders coached by Al Arbour, a former Bowman player with the Blues.

After his two seasons as head coach in Pittsburgh, he was offered a long-term deal by the club. However, he indicated that he was not interested in their initial offer, which was not disclosed to the public, so they rescinded it. "We have to get somebody who wants to coach this team," Penguins owner Howard Baldwin said. "Scotty was clearly looking elsewhere."[7][8]

Detroit Red Wings

In 1993–94, Bowman became coach of the Red Wings, and led them to a first-place finish in the Western Conference, but his Red Wings were ousted in the first round by the young San Jose Sharks. According to an apocryphal story, Bowman had difficulty in the maze-like tunnels of the San Jose Arena, eventually having to be rescued after getting lost and twice locking himself into rooms.[9]

In 1995, the Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, their first finals appearance in 29 years, but were swept by the New Jersey Devils in four straight. In the 1995–96 regular season, he won a record 62 games. However, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals.

In the 1997 playoffs, Bowman led the team to its first Stanley Cup in 42 years by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers 4–0. The Red Wings repeated the feat the following season (1998) by defeating the Washington Capitals in 5 games.

In 1999 and 2000, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Semi-Finals, and in 2001 they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round.

Bowman decided in February 2002 that he would retire at the end of the season and he went out as a winner as his Red Wings won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4 games to 1. During the presentation of the Cup on the ice, Bowman put on an old pair of skates so he could take a lap with the Cup. He then publicly announced his retirement from coaching.[10] At the time of his retirement, he was second on the Red Wings' all-time wins list behind only Jack Adams. He is now third, behind Adams and Mike Babcock.

Bowman received the Wayne Gretzky International Award in 2002.[11][12]

Team Canada

Bowman has coached the Canada men's national ice hockey team at the international level twice in his career. In the 1976 Canada Cup his team won gold over Czechoslovakia and silver in the 1981 Canada Cup against the Soviet Union.

Coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
GWLTOTLPtsFinishWLWin %Result
STL1967–68 58232114703rd in West810.444Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
STL1968–69 76372514881st in West84.667Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
STL1969–70 76372712861st in West88.500Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
STL1970–71 2813105312nd in West24.333Lost in Quarterfinals
STL total23811083452652626.5004 playoff appearances
MTL1971–72 784616161083rd in East24.333Lost in Quarterfinals
MTL1972–73 785210161201st in East125.706Won Stanley Cup
MTL1973–74 7845249992nd in East24.333Lost in Quarterfinals
MTL1974–75 804714191131st in Norris65.545Lost in Semifinals
MTL1975–76 805811111271st in Norris121.923Won Stanley Cup
MTL1976–77 80608121321st in Norris122.857Won Stanley Cup
MTL1977–78 805910111291st in Norris123.800Won Stanley Cup
MTL1978–79 805217111151st in Norris124.750Won Stanley Cup
MTL total6344191101059437028.7148 playoff appearances
5 Stanley Cup titles
BUF1979–80 804717161101st in Adams95.643Lost in Semifinals
BUF1981–82 3518107433rd in Adams13.250Lost in Division Semifinals
BUF1982–83 80382913893rd in Adams64.600Lost in Division Finals
BUF1983–84 80482571032nd in Adams03.000Lost in Division Semifinals
BUF1984–85 80382814903rd in Adams23.400Lost in Division Semifinals
BUF1985–86 3718181375th in AdamsMissed playoffs
BUF1986–87 123728(fired)
BUF total404210134604801818.5005 playoff appearances
PIT1991–92 8039329873rd in Patrick165.762Won Stanley Cup
PIT1992–93 84562171191st in Patrick75.583Lost in Division Finals
PIT total1649553162062310.6972 playoff appearances
1 Stanley Cup title
DET1993–94 84463081001st in Central34.429Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
DET1994–95 4833114701st in Central126.667Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
DET1995–96 82621371311st in Central109.526Lost in Conference Finals
DET1996–97 82382618942nd in Central164.800Won Stanley Cup
DET1997–98 824423151032nd in Central166.727Won Stanley Cup
DET1998–99 8243327931st in Central64.600Lost in Conference Semifinals
DET1999–2000 8248221021082nd in Central54.556Lost in Conference Semifinals
DET2000–01 824920941111st in Central24.333Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
DET2001–02 8251171041161st in Central167.696Won Stanley Cup
DET total70641019388109208648.6429 playoff appearances
3 Stanley Cup titles
Total2,1411,244573314102,814223130.63228 playoff appearances
9 Stanley Cup titles


In 2003 Bowman was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.[13]

Since his retirement as coach in 2002, Bowman worked as a special consultant to the Red Wings.[14] On August 3, 2007, it was reported that Bowman was offered the position of President of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bowman later appeared in an interview on Hockey Night in Canada on January 12, 2008 confirming that he was very close to taking the job only to be turned away by Richard Peddie, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE).[15][16] In July 2008, he took a position as senior advisor of hockey operations for the Chicago Blackhawks to work alongside his son Stan Bowman, who is the general manager.[17] The Blackhawks' Stanley Cup victory in 2010 gave Bowman his 12th Stanley Cup including coaching and team management, and the Blackhawks' 2013, and 2015 Stanley Cup victories were Bowman's 13th and 14th respectively.

In 2012, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to hockey as a coach and mentor".[18]

On February 8, 2017, it was announced that Bowman would receive Order of Hockey in Canada award in a ceremony on June 19.[19][20]

Personal life

As of January 2018 Bowman is living in Sarasota, Florida, attending all of the Tampa Bay Lightning home games in his role as the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks, managed by his son Stan Bowman. Scotty follows the league from Tampa Bay, as he currently isn't heavily involved with the Blackhawks.


  3. The Game, Ken Dryden, p.36, Published by Macmillan Canada, 1993, ISBN 0-7715-9001-6
  4. The Montreal Canadiens:100 Years of Glory, D’Arcy Jenish, p.236, Published in Canada by Doubleday, 2009, ISBN 978-0-385-66325-0
  5. – Biography – Scotty Bowman Archived January 25, 2013, at
  6. "Scotty Bowman Appointed To Selection Committee".
  8. "Bowman Decides Not to Return as Penguin Coach". LA Times. May 29, 1993. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  9. Dave Stubbs (November 5, 2017). "Bowman kept coaching retirement secret until after Stanley Cup win".
  10. "Off-Season News and Notes". American Hockey Coaches Association. October 14, 2002. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  11. "Wayne Gretzky International Award". U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  12. Canada's Walk of Fame
  13. Kelley, Jim (May 29, 2008). "Bowman keeps close ties to Cup". Cable News Network. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  14. "Scotty Bowman says Leafs turned him down". CBC News. January 13, 2008.
  15. Bowman: Maple Leafs turned me down
  16. Chicago Blackhawks – News: Blackhawks To Host Major Press Conference Today – July 31, 2008 Archived August 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Appointments to the Order of Canada".
  18. "2017 Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada announced". February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  19. "Scotty Bowman named to Order of Hockey in Canada". February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
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