Bowmans share Stanley Cup triumph

After winning his first Stanley Cup
as coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 1973, William Scott “Scotty” Bowman told
his pregnant wife Suella, “If it’s a boy, let’s name him Stanley.”

Thirty-six years later, Bowman and
his son Stan, the general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, stood at center
ice at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center
last Wednesday to accept the 2010 Stanley Cup. Less than a year after he ascended
to the role of GM, Stan Bowman beamed as the club he managed delivered to Chicago fans their first
Stanley Cup since 1961.

“I feel like those commercials they
play when the guys don’t know what to say,” Stan Bowman said.c“It’s hard to put
into words what it means right now. It’s something I’ve dreamed of. I’ve been
fortunate with my father to be around the Cup quite a bit.

Dad Scotty felt it was an equally
special moment.

“My son being there makes it very
special,” Scotty Bowman said. “But this is different because I had a hand in
it. I’m just so proud of our guys. We really earned it and it’s a great group
in there. They’re resilient. They fought through it. It wasn’t easy for us. We
stuck in there when there were some difficult times. They really showed their
true colours tonight. I’m proud of them.”

While it was Stan’s first Stanley
Cup, it was the 12th for Scotty Bowman, the most successful coach in NHL
history. But this time, Scotty was winning in his role as senior adviser for
hockey operations. Bowman coached the Canadiens to five Stanley Cups and the Detroit
Red Wings to three more.

He won the 1991 Stanley Cup as
player personnel director for the Pittsburgh Penguins, then stepped back behind
the bench the next season when Penguins coach Bob Johnson fell ill with the
cancer that claimed his life. Scotty Bowman claimed his 11th Stanley Cup as a
special consultant to the Red Wings when they won in 2008.

The father-son duo had interesting
and contrasting journeys into the NHL. While Scotty Bowman rose from player to
coach to (Buffalo Sabres) general manager and other front-office positions,
Notre Dame graduate Stan Bowman joined the Blackhawks in 2001 as special
assistant to then-GM Mike Smith. Four years later, he was promoted to director
of hockey promotions. He became assistant general manager to GM Dale Tallon in
2007 and general manager last July.

Then the Blackhawks lured Scotty
Bowman to join the organization. The elder Bowman was at first torn between his
love for Red Wings’ owners Mike and Marian Ilitch and the desire to be with
Stan, who had been struggling with cancer. The Ilitches made Scotty Bowman’s
decision easy. 

“It’s always tough to leave an
organization. I was very settled in Detroit,”
Scotty Bowman said. “When I retired (as Red Wings coach) in 2002, I just wanted
to be with the team and they said you can stay here as long as you want. That
made me feel good. Then when Stan got sick – he got Hodgkins twice and then he
got a stem-cell transplant – I got a call from Dale Tallon at the time and they
said they were looking for a senior guy.

“He and Stan were very close. It
was a situation where I called the Detroit
people and they said, ‘It’s not a decision and you should go.’ So, that helped
me out and I felt good about going and try to help them.”

With the elder Bowman at age 76,
time is running out on his involvement in hockey. Yet no matter how long he has
left in the game he will never forget delivering a Stanley Cup to Chicago after a 49-year
drought alongside his son.

“When you think about
it, the Blackhawks got better over the last three years. Last year, they got to
the third round and lost three games in overtime. I guess that’s part of the
thing you have to do before you win. Coming into this year, we wondered if we
could duplicate it. I mean the West is real tough, there’s some great teams in
there. But they won 52 games and the Stanley Cup. My son being there makes it
very special.”