Many coaches aren’t given the credit they deserve. Despite what the television shows, NHL coaches do much more than just calling for changes and setting lines. They put the entire system in place, work to develop new and young talent, and plan and execute practices. In today’s world, they have to deal with the quirks and personalities of the diverse players on their teams. These four coaches top our list.
When it comes to hockey, Bowman was somewhat of an alchemist. He managed to turn 130 losses and 223 wins into a total of nine Stanley Cup wins, more than any other coach in NHL history. In 1991, he was selected to be an Honored Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Most agree he leaves a legacy that is going to remain as long as hockey is played.
While Joel Quenneville isn’t necessarily the first name that is mentioned when it comes to great NHL coaches, he wound up making a pretty strong case after winning the Stanley Cup in 2015 for the third time. He has coached a total of 1,375 games, winning 754, which puts him as the coach with third-most wins in NHL history.
Prior to coaching the Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic hockey team in 1980, Brooks ran the program at the University of Minnesota, taking the previous year’s record of 8-24 and turning it into 15-3 in his first year. He left college coaching at age 42 and went on to coach the U.S. Olympic team. That team is known as having the greatest upset in sports history, along with coining the phrase “Do you believe in miracles.”
With 27 seasons behind the bench, Irvin coached over 1,449 games and won 692, which is pretty incredible when you consider no NHL season is more than 70 games. In addition to being a legendary coach, with his name on four Stanley Cups, he is also known for his time as a player and as one of the earliest pioneers of the slapshot.
Arbour has had a number of recognitions bestowed upon him, including being inducted as a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame and the New York Islanders Hall of Fame. He also received the Jack Adams Award and coached a team that won four consecutive Stanley Cups during the 1980s.
While all coaches deserve respect, these few stand out, and their legacy is something that won’t soon be forgotten.
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