The first thing Victor Hedman remembers about Rick Bowness’ tenure in Tampa Bay is the flood of texts.
“The Sedin twins reached out to me right away: You guys got the best one.”
Then came the echoes from Mattias Ohlund, Alex Edler and so many more players from Bowness’ former team in Vancouver. To a man, everyone said the same thing: Rick Bowness treats people right.
“That’s going to be his legacy and there’s no greater legacy than that,” says longtime NHL executive Ray Shero, who worked with Bowness with the Senators in the 1990s. “That’s part of the mandate with people like Rick and (his wife) Judy. They care about people, the game is better with them in it, and Winnipeg is fortunate to have them back.”
“It’s not, ‘This is what it is: go do it because I said so,’” says Mark Scheifele. “It’s a conversation: ‘What is everyone feeling?’ You don’t know what the problem is until you ask and I think Bones has been great about that since he got hired. He wants to know what the problem is, he wants to know what is going on and what is happening.”
“It’s not a gimmick,” says Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who played for Bowness in the AHL and scouted for his ‘90s Senators. “All of that stuff comes naturally to him. It comes down to being a good person and that’s a box that he checks.”