Scotty Bowman

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National Hockey League Coach

In a career which encompasses the entire expansion era of the NHL, Amherst resident Scotty Bowman has seen everything the league has to offer. However, the NHL and its fans have never seen the likes of Bowman, nor will they again. Simply the most successful coach in the history of professional team sports, Bowman has left a trail of Gretzky-esque numbers which will never be approached.

The winningest coach in NHL history, and one of only five coaches with over 500 victories, Bowman was an immediate success with the St. Louis Blues, leading that team to the Stanley Cup finals in the first three years of its existence. After a legendary stint in Montreal, which featured four straight Cups (and five overall) in the 1970s, Bowman arrived in Buffalo in 1979 as coach and general manager of a rebuilding Sabres team.

Bowman’s legacy in Buffalo has been unfairly tarnished by the failure to win a Stanley Cup here. However, his impact behind the bench was unmistakable. He presided over two of the best Sabre squads ever iced (110 points in 1980 and 103 points in 1984), and he drafted many players who enjoyed outstanding NHL careers in Buffalo and elsewhere (Dave Andreychuk, Tom Barrasso and Phil Housley, to name a few). Scotty won two divisional titles and 210 games in Buffalo coaching during parts of eight seasons.

Bowman produced two Cup winners in Pittsburgh, one as coach and another as director of player personnel. During the past seven seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Scotty has achieved two significant (and untouchable) milestones, along with two more Stanley Cups. In February 1997, he coached his 1,000th NHL victory (Al Arbour stands second on the list with 781); in May 1998, he became the first NHL coach to coach three different teams to a Stanley Cup championship. Scotty has coached a record tying eight cup winners in his eleven Cup Finals appearances.

Although certainly blessed with tremendously talented players during his career (Guy LaFleur, Gilbert Perreault, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman), Bowman’s success has stemmed from an uncompromising commitment to excellence. Scott’s often unusual and controversial methods have not always been popular with players, but no player has ever been able to question his devotion to winning. Scotty has always demanded nothing less from the players who have shared the spotlight with the latest hockey inductee of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.