Legendary Montreal Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman has received an induction into the Order of Canada on Friday, December 30th. He joins other hockey greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux who have all been inducted into the Order of Canada as a result of their significant contribution to the sport of hockey. Bowman has already been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2003 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991. He is widely considered the greatest hockey coach in the history of the game.
Bowman started his NHL coaching career in 1967 as assistant coach of the newly formed St. Louis Blues before taking over as head coach later in the season. In his first 3 seasons he led the Blues to 3 Stanley Cup final appearances. In 1972 he moved over to Montreal to coach the Canadiens to what would become the most prestigious major sports dynasty of all time which ended only with his departure at the end of 1979.
Bowman coached the Canadiens during their reign of victory winning his first Stanley Cup Championship in 1973 before leading the team from 1976 to 1979 where they won 4 straight Stanley Cups with the equally legendary lineup of Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, and Bob Gainey, not to mention Ken Dryden playing between the pipes. In total, Bowman won 5 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, which is second only to his mentor Toe Blake, who succeeded in coaching the Canadiens to 8 Stanley Cup wins.
After much success with the Canadiens, Bowman moved on to earn 4 more Stanley Cups, one as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992 where he also led the team to their first 100-point season and finished with the league’s best record. Bowman’s boys also set the NHL record for most consecutive wins in regular season games with 17.
Bowman won his last 3 Stanley Cups as a head coach with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Bowman retired from his coaching role in the NHL after winning his last Stanley Cup Championship as head coach of the Red Wings who defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in a 4-1 series.
Since retiring as NHL head coach, Bowman has focused on hockey operations and is currently the senior advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks where his son Stan is the general manager. Bowman has won 3 more Stanley Cups as a member of the NHL in an organizational title role: First as director of player development for the Penguins in 1991, then as a consultant for the Detroit Red Wings in 2008, and most recently as the senior advisor of hockey operations for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
Bowman presently still holds the record for most wins by any coach in the NHL with 1244 regulation game wins and 223 playoff wins over 30 seasons of coaching for the Montreal Canadiens, the St. Louis Blues, the Buffalo Sabres, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings. He earned a total of 9 Stanley Cups as a head coach along the way, which is also an NHL record that still stands today.