Scotty Bowman life and biography

Scotty Bowman picture, image, poster

Scotty Bowman biography

Date of birth : 1933-09-18
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Montreal, Quebec
Nationality : Canadian
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-06-10
Credited as : NHL Hockey League head coach, Senior Advisor at Chicago Blackhawks,

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William Scott "Scotty" Bowman (born September 18, 1933) is a retired National Hockey League head coach. He holds the record for most wins in league history, with 1,244 wins in the regular season and 223 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 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.

As head coach, Bowman has won a record nine Stanley Cups with the Canadiens (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979), Penguins (1992) and Red Wings (1997, 1998, and 2002). He has also won three 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 Chicago Blackhawks. Bowman won the Jack Adams Award in 1977 and 1996. In the 1976–77 season he won a record 60 games and broke his own record with 62 wins in 1995–96. Bowman is the only head coach in the history of the NHL, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, or the National Basketball Association who has won championships with three different teams.

Bowman was born on September 17, 1933 in Montreal, Quebec. He played minor league hockey until a head injury ended his playing career.

Bowman's brother, Jack, was a longtime scout for the Buffalo Sabres, his nephew, Steve Bowman, is a scout for the Washington Capitals, and his son, Stan, is the General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks.

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 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 assistant coach to Lynn Patrick. However, Patrick resigned after a slow start, and Bowman became coach at age 34. The Blues caught fire, and made it to the Stanley Cup finals in their first three years of existence. Bowman coached 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 Habs were the defending champions, Al MacNeil had been sacked as head coach due to conflicts with several key players. 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 bow out in the first and third rounds, respectively 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. The Habs' dynasty ended after Bowman and several key players left the team. Bowman remains the second-winningest coach in Canadiens history after Toe Blake.

Bowman and General Manager Sam Pollock not only presided over a Canadiens dynasty, but many of their players went on to having 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 career, in the 1985–86 season.

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. He quit coaching temporarily in 1987 to become an analyst for the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. He left the Sabres as the most successful coach, in terms of wins, in the club's history.

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.

After the death of Bob Johnson, who had just won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins the previous season, Bowman took over as head coach. 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, the NHL's next-winningest coach after Bowman. The Penguins did not renew Bowman's contract in part because Bowman feuded with Penguins star Mario Lemieux.

Detroit Red Wings

In 1993–94, Bowman then 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. An apocryphal story reported about Bowman's "Spinal Tap"-like troubles in the tunnels of the San Jose Arena where he got lost in the tangled maze, and twice locked himself into rooms and had to be rescued.

In 1995, the Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup Finals but were swept by the New Jersey Devils in four straight. This was the Red Wings' first appearance in the finals in 29 years. 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 by sweeping the Washington Capitals.

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. It was after the presentation of the Cup on the ice that Bowman publicly announced his retirement from coaching. He is second only to Jack Adams in wins as a coach for the Red Wings.


Bowman currently lives in East Amherst, NY with his wife Suella. They have five children (Alicia, David, Stanley, Bob and Nancy). In 2003 Bowman was inducted into Canada's Walk Of Fame.

Since his retirement as coach in 2002, Bowman worked as a special consultant to the Red Wings. 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). In July 2008, he took a position as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Chicago Blawkhawks 2010 Stanley Cup victory gives Bowman a 12th Stanley Cup including coach and team management.

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