RICK BOWNESS enters his fourth season with the Lightning after being named to the position of associate coach on June 3, 2013. He brings more than 28 years of NHL experience to the Bolts bench and oversees the Tampa Bay defensive unit as well as the penalty kill. Bowness coached his 2,000th NHL game on February 7, 2015. Under his guidance, the Lightning have gone from one of the more porous teams in the league, ranking 26th for goals against per game with 3.06 in 2012-13, to consistently ranking in the top half of the NHL, improving each year during his tenure, including 2.41 in 2015-16 (5th in the NHL). Tampa Bay's penalty kill has also seen significant improvement, ranking tied for seventh in the league in 2015-16 at 83.7 percent.
Before joining the Lightning, Bowness, 61, spent seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, serving as associate coach. The Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all but one of Bowness' seasons behind the bench, including an appearance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
Bowness has served on the coaching staff of six teams during his coaching career, the Winnipeg Jets(1984-89), Boston Bruins (1991-92), Ottawa Senators (1992-96), New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix Coyotes (1999-06) and the Canucks (2007-13), in varying capacities. He was the head coach on five occasions, with the Jets in 1988-89, Bruins in 1991-92, Senators from 1992-96, Islanders from 1996-98 and in Phoenix in 2003-04.
A native of Moncton, New Brunswick, Bowness began his coaching career with the Sherbrooke Jets of the American Hockey League, serving as a player/coach during the 1982-83 season. He spent the following four seasons as an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets before returning to his hometown in 1987 to act as the coach and general manager of the Moncton Hawks of the AHL. Bowness had his first NHL head coaching stint when he took over as interim head coach for Winnipeg for the final 28 games of the 1988-89 season.
The following year, Bowness joined the Bruins organization. He coached the Maine Mariners of the AHL for two seasons before taking over as head coach in Boston for the 1991-92 season. That year he led the Bruins to a 36-32-12 record and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. From there Bowness was named the first head coach of the Ottawa Senators and spent three and a half years with the expansion franchise. Bowness joined the Islanders on December 30, 1995 and worked two seasons as associate coach. He took over head coaching duties in January of 1997. Bowness then went on to coach in Phoenix for the following six seasons, including a stint as interim head coach in 2003-04.
Rick and his wife, Judy, reside in Tampa and have two sons and a daughter.