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OLDER COACHES ADMIT CONCERN ABOUT RETURNING BEHIND THE BENCH

Though the NHL planning a return later this summer is exciting for hockey fans, there are some coaches in the league who are concerned about their safety being behind the bench while more positive COVID-19 cases are still being reported daily. One in particular is Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness.

“I’ve been giving it an awful lot of thought. Without a doubt. I’m 65,” said Bowness to The Athletic this week. “Am I nervous? Absolutely I am, to get this thing.”

Bowness mentioned he is still planning on being behind the Stars bench, but is monitoring the situation closely. He isn’t alone in that either. There are currently 12 members of coaching staffs around the league that will be over the age of 60.

“No doubt you’re thinking of the different options you may have, whether it’s wearing a mask, to what extent you are going to deal with your team and players (meaning distancing),” said Montreal Canadiens 60-year-old head coach Claude Julien. “I know it may be a challenge behind the bench more than anywhere else but my thinking is that I need to be ready to adjust and have options when that time comes depending on where we are with COVID and our hockey circumstance.”

“That also means pulling myself out if I feel a real danger,” added Julien. “My family and life are more important than my job at this point.”



The NHL has made it clear that it will be up to each and every coach to decide if they want to return, and that they will not be forced to. At the end of the day, it comes down to the coaches' comfort level. This is certainly an interesting aspect and not one that many fans likely thought of, but could cause yet another issue for the league as it attempts to resume play.

COLTON PANKIW
JUNE 24, 2020  (17H33)
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