Boughner has no fear of being fired

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:17 PM ET

BRANDON Theres something to be said for job security.

Especially in a profession that doesnt have any.

Bob Boughner is in a unique situation with the Windsor Spitfires.

One that could be hard to walk away from.

Hes not only the clubs head coach, president and chief executive officer. Hes a part owner.

I have a little bit of job security in Windsor, so I dont have to worry too much about that, Boughner said with a smile.

Boughner, whose Spitfires will play for their second straight Memorial Cup in Sundays final, bought his hometown OHL franchise in 2006 along with fellow NHLer Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich.

He considered climbing behind the bench immediately despite not having a minute of coaching experience.

Warren had a lot of scouting experience, so it was an obvious choice for him (to become GM), Boughner said. For me, I always loved motivating. I wanted to give it a shot, but I didnt want to jump in with no experience when the team was really good.

I called around to a few guys, ex-hockey players who own teams. Dale Hunter was the guy who said to me I tried to sit back for a year and watch. But if you want to do it, my suggestion would be to jump in there and do it.

That gave me a push in the right direction.

I jumped in at the right time. I was a rookie with them, so we all learned together.

The team was not very good when he walked behind the bench to make his coaching debut.

The Spitfires had the second-worst record in the OHL during Boughners campaign.

But the new ownership group clearly had a plan in place and the team had its second best record in franchise history the next season.

The Boogieman, a monicker he was given by Sabres broadcaster Rick Jennerett during the d-mans days in Buffalo, won the OHL and CHL coach of the year award.

Hes since won both awards again.

Not bad for a guy who started off flying by the seat of his pants.

Its only been four years since Boughner retired from a 10-year career that saw the tough guy play for the Sabres, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche.

He admits he had no idea what he was getting himself into when he decided coaching would be his next profession.

I never realized how much there was to know and do, he said. Everything from matchups to practices, Ive learned with these guys.

And Ive had great help with my associate coach and assistant coach (Bob Jones and DJ Smith).

Boughner said he drew from what he had learned from his NHL coaches guys like Barry Trotz, Herb Brooks, Darryl Sutter, Tony Granato and Joel Quenville, to name a few.

I had some great coaches during my career so I relied upon all my past experience, he said. I try to bring the NHL feel to junior hockey, with the pace of practices and drills.

And Ive done my fair share of coaching clinics.

Boughner has enjoyed so much success with the Spitfires, his name is now kicked around when NHL coaching vacancies appear.

But it will have to be an enticing situation to get Boughner out of Windsor.

Much like it was for Flames bench boss Brent Sutter, who owns the WHLs Red Deer Rebels.

Boughners in no hurry to leave.

I am extremely happy with what Im doing now, said Boughner. Im not actively pursuing anything.

Id be lying if I said I wouldnt love to get a phone call. But Im in no rush. If its not this year or next year, Im happy. I could do what Im doing for the next 20 years and be very comfortable with it.

I just want to keep learning and become the best coach I can be. If it happens one day, it happens.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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