In 1992, the Detroit Red Wings opted not to tender a contract to Bob Boughner. Red Wings senior vice-president Jimmy Devellano then encountered what he refers to as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Boughner sat down and wrote Devellano a thank you letter for giving him the opportunity to be part of the Detroit organization.
“In all my years in hockey, no other player has ever done that,” Devellano said.
UPDATE: Detroit #RedWings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman today announced that the team has hired Bob Boughner as associate coach and Alex Westlund as goaltending coach.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 8, 2022
Boughner would go on to play 630 games as an NHL defenseman. The 1998-99 season saw him skating in the Stanley Cup final with the Buffalo Sabres.
Thirty-three years after he was orginally selected by the Red Wings in the 1989 NHL entry draft, Boughner is finally being given the chance to be part of the team. Friday, the team announced that it was adding Boughner and goalie coach Alex Westlund to the staff of newly-hired head coach Derek Lalonde.
Red Wings Considered Boughner Before
There was a previous time when Boughner was under consideration for a spot on the Red Wings coaching staff. That was during the days when Mike Babcock was Detroit’s coach. Boughner had left his position as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He ended up opting to return to coach in his hometown with the OHL Windsor Spitfires.
The past has also seen Boughner serving as coach the Florida Panthers. The San Jose Sharks recently were making the decision to dismiss Boughner as coach of their team. This hire speaks volumes to Lalonde’s confidence and desire to win. Not many in their first NHL head coaching job would be willing to add someone to their staff with vast experience as an NHL head coach.
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman indicated that the call to hire Boughner was entirely Lalonde’s to make.
“I kind of had some names before we had hired Derek and I quickly sat down with him (after the hiring)” Yzerman said. “He identified people that he wanted to talk to and positions he wanted to fill immediately.
“Bob in this role was one of those. So really it was Derek’s decision with 100 percent of my support behind it.”
Westlund Coming Over From Capitals
A former minor pro nemtinder, Westlund has spent the past five seasons in the Washington Capitals’ organization. He was serving as associate goaltending coach with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears.
During his tenure, Westlund was working directly with Washington’s minor-league affiliates. He was providing daily instruction to prospects in Hershey and with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. Under Westlund’s watch, Hershey’s goaltending tandem of Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award in 2020-21.