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Bowness Bumped: Jets’ Head Coach Out with COVID

Photo by Rusty Barton

Bowness Bumped: Jets’ Head Coach Out with COVID

Fans of the Winnipeg Jets will need to wait a little longer until they get to see brand new head coach Rick Bowness behind the bench at Canada Life Centre – or on the road for that matter.

Just hours prior to Friday night’s season opener in Winnipeg, the Jets announced that the 67-year-old would not be at the arena when the team hosts Jacob Trouba and the New York Rangers in their home-opener as he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite skating earlier in the day during Winnipeg’s morning skate and hosting his pre-game media scrum, Bowness will be unavailable – in person – to coach at Canada Life Centre. How long he is away from the team remains unknown. The severity of his case will also determine his availability to help out from a distance.

With no current isolation requirements in Canada, Bowness could actually travel with the team – or separate from the players – on their upcoming road trip through the United States. The recommendation is to refrain from interaction with the public for five days, while monitoring symptoms. Should Bowness have a fever, he is to remain away from others until his fever-like symptoms pass. But again, these are all just recommendations.

Hired in early July as Dave Lowry’s official replacement, Bowness was set to coach his first game with Winnipeg since his stint with the team in the 1980s. Lowry replaced Paul Maurice halfway through last season, but was unable to turn the ‘sinking ship’ around.

The Jets announced that associate coach Scott Arniel would fulfill the head coaching duties for Winnipeg on Friday night and likely do so in the interim. It will be his first time serving as head coach in NHL action since the 2011-12 season – his second year as the bench boss of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Arniel is 45-60-18 through 123 NHL games. Bowness, on the other hand, has earned 211 wins and has 351 losses to his name.

Winnipeg was 4-1-1 in preseason play and will head out on the road for a three-game heater on Monday in Dallas. The Jets face off against the Stars, Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights in a four-day span before returning home to Canada Life Centre to face the Toronto Maple Leafs next Saturday.


Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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