Stars Coach Rick Bowness Cleared to Return After False Positive COVID-19 Test

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2021

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 25: Rick Bowness of the Dallas Stars watches the action from behind the bench against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the American Airlines Center on March 25, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness was cleared to rejoin the team Wednesday after registered a false-positive COVID-19 test.

According to ESPN, Bowness was pulled from the bench after the second period of Sunday's 1-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes because of an apparent positive test. Stars general manager Jim Nill later said it was likely a false positive since Bowness was fully vaccinated.

That proved to be the case, meaning Bowness will be eligible to coach the Stars on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 66-year-old, the oldest head coach in the NHL, is in the midst of his second season as head coach of the Stars and 11th overall after previous stints with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes.

Last season, the Stars went 20-13-5 in 38 regular-season games and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

This season, the Stars are just 13-14-10, giving them 36 points through 37 games. The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs, and Dallas is currently seven points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division with three games in hand.

It has been a trying season for the Stars, as they got off to a late start after 17 members of the team tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp.

Per ESPN, Nill noted that almost everyone who travels with the team currently is either vaccinated or has had COVID-19 already.

Every game is of the utmost importance this season since they are all against divisional opponents, but the upcoming stretch is especially big for the Stars since they have games in hand on some of the teams they are trailing and a chance to make up some ground.

It will start Thursday against Chicago, followed by back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday against the Florida Panthers and Predators.