Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness announced Friday that he is stepping down following three seasons behind the bench.
Bowness' contract with the franchise expired after the Stars were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a first-round loss to the Calgary Flames.
Stars general manager Jim Nill also released a statement wishing Bowness the best of luck and praised him for stepping in a few years ago:
"His dedication and commitment to the game, and the impact that he's made on countless players, coaches and support staff throughout his five decades in the League is unmatched. He has dedicated his life to our game, and we are honored to say that the Dallas Stars are part of his legacy. When he was called upon to lead our team a few seasons ago, he stepped into the role seamlessly and helped guide our team through unprecedented global events that affected our players and staff both on and off the ice. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to wish Rick, Judy and the rest of their family nothing but the best moving forward."
Bowness served as head coach of the Stars from 2019-20 through 2021-22, finishing with an 89-62-25 record. He stepped in during the 2019-20 season as an interim replacement for Jim Montgomery and led the franchise to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2000.
The Stars fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final, but Bowness was rewarded with a two-year contract.
Since that run, the Stars have played well below expectations. Dallas missed the playoffs in 2020-21, finishing fifth in the Central Division with a 23-19-14 record.
The Stars improved somewhat in 2021-22, finishing fourth in the division with a 46-30-6 record, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
With Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Roope Hintz, Alexander Radulov, Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg on the roster, the past two seasons have been a massive disappointment for the Stars.
It's unclear what's next for Bowness, but he is one of the most respected coaches in hockey. The 67-year-old has coached 2,562 games as an assistant or head coach in the NHL, having also served as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes.
In 639 NHL games as a head coach, Bowness went 212-351-76. His best years behind the bench came in Dallas, as he finished with losing records in each of the other cities he coached in, save for his one year in Boston.
The Stars join the Jets, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights in search of a new head coach. Barry Trotz, Peter DeBoer, Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault could be among the hottest names in this offseason's hiring cycle.