Scotty Bowman Loving Blackhawk Life
"I had a meaningful role, and the Illitches treated me like family," said the Hall of Fame coach, referring to the longtime owners of the Red Wings, Mike and Marian Illitch.
Then his real family called.
The 76-year-old Bowman is in his second season as a senior advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks. Last summer his son, Stan, was named general manager after a decade in hockey operations with the revitalized Original Six franchise. The elder Bowman's stature remains so strong in league circles that a radio interview he gave during last Wednesday's trade deadline was linked and re-tweeted all over the hockey universe.
"I heard about that," Bowman told FanHouse with a gentle laugh. "I didn't realize at the time that I was stirring it up."
The living legend is charmingly naive about his impact on the game. When Scotty speaks, everybody listens.
On this day, the owner of nine Stanley Cup rings as a head coach and two as an executive was on a Toronto morning hockey talk show. He was asked about the possibility of the Blackhawks considering an upgrade in goal over Cristobal Huet and Antii Niemi. Despite tradewinds blowing all over the Windy City, Bowman matter-of-factly mentioned that he didn't believe the Blackhawks were looking at anyone in the goalie market.
Almost immediately, his response was interpreted as fact or a brilliant smokescreen to drive the price of a goaltender down.
"It was funny because all that happened was, I was asked a question and I honestly answered it to the best of my knowledge," said Bowman. "Everyone knew we had a salary cap issue and there wasn't much that could be done. Our goals-against is in the top two in the whole league, so it wasn't an issue. There was no trickery involved. I wouldn't play that game.
"Besides," he added, "I turned about to be right, didn't I?"
With that mystery solved, it was time to ask Bowman to clear up the big picture: what really is his role with the Blackhawks? Is he more than a senior advisor? Is he a top voice with Chicago?
"My job is exactly what the title says I am -- I am a senior advisor," said Bowman. "The way it works is, I live in Florida for most of the season. I attend as many games as I can in Tampa Bay. I report directly to Marc Bergevin, who is the head of pro scouting."
You don't deal one-on-one with your son, Stan?
"Are you kidding? These general managers and their busy schedules ... they don't have time for me. (Laughs) When I see Stan on business, it's about every six weeks. That's when he brings all the scouts in to Chicago for a few days of meetings.
"I'm really happy with my role and getting to be part of Stan's team. It's very gratifying to see our rink packed and loud every night and our team in position to contend. Everything has worked out nicely for me on a professional and personal level. My life is good."
"It was not easy to leave the Red Wings," said Bowman, "but everyone in Detroit understood. I wanted to be with my son."
Scotty Bowman's role in Chicago is really no mystery. He is a hockey man, and he is a father.