WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets are finalizing a deal with Rick Bowness to become the team's new head coach, according to multiple media reports.
TSN was the first to report that Bowness and the Jets were close to a deal.
Bowness spent most of the past three NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars, leading them to an appearance in the 2020 Stanley Cup final.
While Bowness was not under contract past this season, the 67-year-old coach said he was stepping away from the Stars to "allow the organization the opportunity to pursue a different direction at the head coaching position.''
The Stars hired Pete DeBoer to replace Bowness last month.
It will be Bowness's second stint in Winnipeg. He started his coaching career with the Jets, culminating in 28 games running the bench to close the 1988–89 season.
Bowness takes over behind the Jets bench from Dave Lowry, who was named interim head coach after current Florida coach Paul Maurice stepped down in December after nearly nine years in Winnipeg.
The Jets finished the 2021-22 season sixth in the Central Division and out of the playoffs with a 39-32-11 record.
Bowness has been on an NHL bench for a record 2,562 regular-season games as a head coach or an assistant over nearly four decades.
He was 89-62-25 as head coach in Dallas, where he was a second-year assistant before being named interim head coach in December 2019 after Jim Montgomery was fired for off-ice issues.
After the Stars made the Stanley Cup Final in that pandemic-altered 2019-20 season, the interim tag was removed and Bowness got a two-year contract.
Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn, both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Bowness are the only other head coaches with games in five different decades.
Bowness did so with Winnipeg (1989), Boston (1991-92), Ottawa (1992-96), the New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix (2004) and Dallas (2019-22). He also was an assistant for Vancouver and Tampa Bay.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.