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Blackhawks add Hall-of-Famer Bowman to front office

by Brian Compton

The Blackhawks bolstered their front office Thursday with the hiring of Scotty Bowman to a three-year contract. Bowman will be the club's Senior Adviser of Hockey Operations.
PHOTO GALLERY: Scotty Bowman Press Conference
Looks like Brian Campbell isn't the only major acquisition by the Chicago Blackhawks this summer.

The Original Six franchise bolstered its front office Thursday with the hiring of Scotty Bowman to a three-year contract. Bowman will be the club's Senior Adviser of Hockey Operations.

Bowman has his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times and is the NHL's all-time winningest coach (1,224 victories). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1991 and is the only coach to lead three different teams to the Stanley Cup.

He had been working for the Detroit Red Wings since retiring as coach following the Wings' 2002 championship.

The main reason for Bowman's arrival in the Windy City is simple. Working for the Blackhawks provides Bowman the opportunity to work alongside his son, Stan, who is the team's assistant general manager of hockey operations.

"When I went to Detroit as the coach 15 years ago, the team was really on the upswing," Bowman said during a press conference Thursday. "Looking at what's here for me and for the Hawks, it's a challenge again. I would say the biggest reason is to work with my son. It doesn't happen often in sports, but it is happening here. It's certainly an exciting day for myself and for the family."

Stan Bowman is equally excited. The 2008-09 season will be his eighth with the club, as he's worked his way up from special assistant to the GM. Eight years after first hoping he could one day work with his father, the dream has come to fruition.

"It's a dream come true for me," the younger Bowman said. "When I first started it was in the back of my mind, but I kind of set it aside. I wanted to get my career in motion. Over the last nine months here there's been a lot of changes. Everybody here senses a different atmosphere. Our team performed better. That idea I had a long time ago kind of popped into my head again. It's a great day for everybody."

Scotty Bowman praised the Red Wings for their willingness and understanding in letting him join the Blackhawks. Bowman first contacted Senior Vice President Jim Devellano -- who he's known for more than 40 years -- about the position with the Blackhawks a few weeks ago. The two parties separated amicably.

"It's always a tough decision when you leave an organization like Detroit," Bowman said. "They understand the situation. It's an opportunity to come to Chicago and be with Stan. The Hawks think so much of him, and so do I. This is an exciting time for our family. The timing could not be any better than it is today. I'm thankful this came along at the right time. I'm really looking forward to getting this thing to where it should be. It's really on its way."

Bowman said he won't be in Chicago all the time, but he'll work closely with Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon and coach Denis Savard and provide advice on any and every subject. On occasion Bowman will also head to Rockford, Ill., where the team's American Hockey League affiliate plays.

"I will report to Dale," Bowman said. "The job is very similar (to his role in Detroit) in all aspects. I'll probably be here before training camp. Dale wants me to give my opinion when asked. I watch games every night. I think what I can do the best right now is I like watching players develop. This is the new NHL. You have to develop your own players. I'll try to work as hard as I can with the farm team in Rockford. I'll be like another set of eyes for Dale and Denis and the organization. Hopefully I'll do what I did with Detroit."

Tallon, who is entering his fourth season as Chicago's GM, has been working hard this summer to build on the team's success last season. While the Blackhawks (40-34-8) missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, building blocks such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are in place. Along with Campbell, the Blackhawks also signed goaltender Cristobal Huet to a four-year deal.

Combine that with the arrival of Bowman, and Chicago could be back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

"Those are the best eyes you can have," Tallon said. "I won't need those European glasses that (Director of Pro Scouting) Marc Bergevin got me. I'll confide with him on a daily basis. We're going to lean on him heavily in every aspect of the game to get better. He's going to help us get where we need to go."

Of course, the best part is Scotty will have his son by his side. Tallon raved about the younger Bowman's performance in Chicago.

"Stan has been fantastic," Tallon said. "He's been a great partner and he's knowledgeable in all aspects of the game. Things happen for a reason, and this is the right reason. He's here to help us win. It's a great day for all of us."
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