Panthers Hire Ex-NHL Defenseman Bob Boughner As Head Coach Bob Boughner hired as new Florida Panthers head coach - WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Assistant Coach Bob Boughner of Team Orr points to a play on the ice during the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Full view

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Assistant Coach Bob Boughner of Team Orr points to a play on the ice during the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Panthers Hire Ex-NHL Defenseman Bob Boughner As Head Coach

Bob Boughner was rumored to become the Florida Panthers’ next head coach after several reports began floating the news over the weekend.

Bob Boughner Hired as Panthers’ New Coach

On Monday, the team officially announced the hiring of the former NHL defenseman.

“He sees the game in a modern way and is eager to work with our young players,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “During the interview process, Bob blew us away with his preparation, his passion, knowledge and dedication to the game. We believe that he is the right leader to get our team back to competing toward our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

Boughner is the 15th coach in the Panthers’ 24-year history and the team’s fifth since 2011. The 46-year-old Canadian previously spent two years as an assistant coach in San Jose under former Panthers coach Peter DeBoer. Boughner was known as “The Boogieman” during his NHL playing days for his aggressive playing style.

“This is a terrific opportunity for Bob to become a head coach in the National Hockey League and one that he deserves,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.

Since the regular season finished, the Panthers hired four other coaches besides Bougner: among them are Gerard Gallant, who was fired by the team early this past season and was replaced by then-general manager Tom Rowe. However, Florida struggled to regain its form and fell 14 points short of the playoffs.

Boughner played alongside several notable Panthers players (as both a teammate and an opponent) like Jaromir Jagr. 

“I’ve been a player, I’ve been an owner, I’ve been an executive, I’ve been a head coach, an assistant coach,” Boughner said. “I know this league and I know the game and I’m ready for this challenge.”

The Canadian’s only previous stint as a head coach came in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires, with whom he spent two terms over eight seasons. Boughner led the Spitfires to two Memorial Cups (2009, 2010) and was twice named the OHL’s Coach of the Year. He also spent the 2010-2011 season as an assistant in Columbus.

Boughner stated he has high hopes for the Panthers’ future, given that the team boasts several talented young players like Windsor native Aaron Ekblad, a 21-year-old defenseman who has already been an All-Star.

“I think we have a lot of great pieces here to build something special here in South Florida,” Boughner said. “Their setup here for the future is unbelievable.”

Before Boughner was officially announced as the Panthers’ new head coach, Ekblad revealed how thrilled he was at the prospect of the team bringing him on.

“If the rumours are true, I’d be very excited,” Ekblad told the Miami Herald over the weekend. “I’ve known Bob Boughner for a long time. From what I know, players love to be coached by him and he’s been on winning teams.”

Boughner was drafted 32nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1989 and also played in 630 NHL games for the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames among other teams, as well as the Panthers’ minor league affiliate team (he never appeared for Florida). He is currently one of two first-time coaches in the NHL, the other being Vancouver’s Travis Green, who was hired by the Canucks in April. Boughner has never coached in any league higher than the AHL.

WINDSOR, ON – JANUARY 20: Assistant Coach Bob Boughner of Team Orr points to a play on the ice during the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena