Boughner named CHL coach of the year


Windsor Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner did things a little different the second time around.


RIMOUSKI, Que. — Windsor Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner did things a little different the second time around.

The 38-year-old Boughner was named Canadian Hockey League coach of the year Saturday for a second straight season.

As he walked up the aisle to accept his award on stage at the Salle Desjardins-Telus, Boughner stopped to to encourage associate coach Bob Jones and assistant coach D.J. Smith to join him in accepting the award.

“After last year, I thought I should have brought them up,” Boughner said. “We’re friends first and co-workers second, but when we’re coaching every decision is a three-man decision.”

As he gave his acceptance speech, Boughner continued to thank Jones, who was his defensive partner back in junior, and Smith, a former Toronto Maple Leafs prospect.

“You ask any coach about success and he’ll tell you it’s the people around them,” Boughner said. “They’re great coaches in their own right.”

Boughner retired after 10 years in the NHL to take over behind the bench during a transition season after purchasing the Spitfires with Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich.

Last season, the club made a 51-point improvement in the standings to earn Boughner his first Brian Kilrea Trophy as CHL coach of the year.

Saturday, he added his second after the team posted another 21-point improvement and won its first Ontario Hockey League title in more than two decades.

“I’m ecstatic to win it two years in a row,” Boughner said. “I’ve learned a lot in three years and I still have a lot to learn.”

After compiling a 98-24-7-6 mark the last two seasons, talk has now turned to whether Boughner is interested in making the jump to the NHL coaching ranks.

Media in Calgary were questioning if would be interested in the Flames’ job that came open with the firing of Mike Keenan.

“If I were just a head coach, it would be a no brainer,” said Boughner, who played two seasons in Calgary. “I’ve been to the Stanley Cup semifinals twice and it would be nice to compete for it again.”

But he’s also got an ownership stake in the Spitfires and saying pursing an NHL job at this point is not something he’s considering.

“People ask me that a lot,” Boughner said. “‘Would you go if you got a chance?’ At this point, no. I just settled after 15 years on the road and I like living back in Windsor and building a program.”

Boughner beat out Moncton head coach Danny Flynn and Vancouver’s Don Hay.

Windsor Star

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