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Mar 19, 2024 2:30 pm

Coach Rick Bowness leaves Jets for ‘minor medical procedure’

Rick Bowness

An unspecified “minor medical procedure” will force Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness to miss Tuesday’s road game against the New York Rangers, the team said Tuesday.

Bowness, 69, went back to Winnipeg for the procedure and will return to the team when he is physically able to do so. Associate coach Scott Arniel will take over while Bowness is away.

“I got a phone call the other night, two nights ago, with news on some issues,” Arniel told reporters Tuesday. “… [The doctors] know what it is. He’s going to go home and get looked at. He might even be back at the end of the trip. We’ll see how things work out. It’s serious but it wasn’t something that was going to be extended long term. We’re just happy that [the doctors] found out what it is, and they’ll get it looked after and get it worked on.”

Bowness missed 13 games in the fall after his wife suffered a seizure in October.

“Our focus is just on the game and let Rick take care of himself and take care of his body and get back to being healthy,” Jets forward Mark Scheifele said. “All we can do is focus on the game, play some good hockey and have him not stress about us too much. … His health comes first, so just make sure that he’s all healthy, pray for him and hope that he comes back stronger than ever.

“We went through it this year already, so we know what to expect. We know what Arnie’s like. He did a fantastic job then and it also comes from everyone. Just like when a guy goes down, we need the extra players to step up in his absence and just keep the thing going.”

The Jets were 9-2-2 in Bowness’ earlier absence. Winnipeg (43-19-5, 91 points) is in a three-way tie for first place in the Central Division with the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.

Bowness is 89-52-8 in his second season with the Jets. He has coached 14 seasons with seven teams and has a career record of 301-403-36 with 48 ties.

He took the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 and lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

-Field Level Media

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