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The National Hockey League coaching fraternity is small.
Everyone knows everyone in some capacity, whether it’s from being on a staff together, coaching against each other, or simply knowing the other guy through a six-degrees-of-separation type of connection.
It’s how Calgary Flames head coach knows Dallas Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness, who has led his team to the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which starts Saturday.
“Once you get to talk to him, he’s such a good person,” said Ward. “Some guys you talk to, it’s just causal conversation, small talk. You get the feeling with Bones when you’re talking to him, he genuinely cares what you’re saying — right from the first time he talks to you. He takes a real interest in you.”
At 65 years old, the Halifax native has been chasing his Stanley Cup dream for the longest out of all NHL coaches and has been a head coach for six teams.
He was an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 when they lost to Ward’s Bruins in the Stanley Cup final.
And, according to Ward, he’s as genuine as they come.
“He’s been in the game longer than anybody,” Ward said. “His run in coaching has been nothing short of spectacular. You talk about understanding everything about the game, he’s probably forgotten more than most of us know. He’s seen absolutely every thing you could ever possibly see in the game. No one ever has a bad word to say about him. His players love him. He makes his guys better. You cheer for guys like that because of the type of people they are and the longevity they’ve had in the game.
“It’s great to watch him.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020