Boughner has no fear of being fired

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:17 PM ET

BRANDON — There’s something to be said for job security.

Especially in a profession that doesn’t have any.

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

One that could be hard to walk away from.

He’s not only the club’s head coach, president and chief executive officer. He’s a part owner.

“I have a little bit of job security in Windsor, so I don’t have to worry too much about that,” Boughner said with a smile.

Boughner, whose Spitfires will play for their second straight Memorial Cup in Sunday’s 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 didn’t 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 Boughner’s campaign.

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

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

He’s since won both awards again.

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

It’s 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, I’ve learned with these guys.

“And I’ve 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 I’ve 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 WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.

Boughner’s in no hurry to leave.

“I am extremely happy with what I’m doing now,” said Boughner. “I’m not actively pursuing anything.

“I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to get a phone call. But I’m in no rush. If it’s not this year or next year, I’m happy. I could do what I’m 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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