Rick Bowness is better known to hockey fans a long time NHL coach. He has been a head coach in Winnipeg, Boston, Ottawa, New York Islanders and Phoenix. He was also a long time assistant coach in Vancouver and then Tampa Bay.
But did you know that Rick Bowness played 173 games in the National Hockey League, too? He scored 18 goals and 55 points as a right winger for the Atlanta Flames, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
Bowness was a rare NHL player born in New Brunswick. His dad was a Montreal Canadiens prospect who went onto a lengthy career in Atlantic Canada, but never made it to the NHL level. Young Rick grew up idolizing his dad, as well as Chicago superstar Stan Mikita.
Rick was drafted by the Atlanta Flames (second Flames pick, 26th overall) in June of 1975. The Flames sent Bowness to their farm
team, the Tulsa Ice Oilers, where Bowness started his CHL career. Rick spent most of the year in Tulsa for the 1975/76 season, winning the Adams Cup. The following season Rick split his playing time with the Tulsa Ice
Oilers and the Atlanta Flames.
After the 1976/77 season, the Atlanta Flames sold Rick to the Detroit Red Wings. Rick played the entire season with the Red
Wings that year, scoring eight goals and 19 points.
Following the 1977/78 season, Rick was sold again this time to the St. Louis Blues. During the 1978/79 season Rick spent most of
his time playing for St. Louis's farm team the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. Rick played two years with the Golden Eagles, winning his second Adams Cup title in the 1979/80 season.
Rick joined the Winnipeg Jets organization in 1980/81, playing mostly with their farm team back in Tulsa. By 1982 the Jets moved their farm team operations to Sherbrooke where Bowness spent two seasons splitting his duties as both a player and as an assistant coach, thus setting the stage for his lengthy coaching career.
Rick's son Ryan Bowness was a Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick back in 2001.