Detroit Red Wings 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.
Boughner, 51, joins the organization after spending parts of three seasons as head coach of the San Jose Sharks, where he compiled a 67-85-23 record. Boughner returned to San Jose’s coaching staff as an assistant coach on May 29, 2019 before he was elevated to interim head coach on Dec. 11, 2019. Prior to rejoining the Sharks, Boughner worked two seasons as head coach of the Florida Panthers from 2017-19 and posted an 80-62-22 mark. In his first campaign as an NHL head coach in 2017-18, Boughner led the Panthers to a 44-30-8 record as the team finished one point shy of clinching a Stanley Cup Playoff berth. Boughner previously worked two seasons as an assistant coach with the Sharks from 2015-17 and made his NHL coaching debut as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2010-11 campaign.
A native of Windsor, Ontario, Boughner served two stints as head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires from 2006-10 and 2011-15, building a 282-213-49 record. During his first four seasons in Windsor, Boughner was named the OHL and Canadian Hockey League’s Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and led the team to two-straight Memorial Cup and OHL championships in 2009 and 2010. He became the first head coach in CHL history to win a pair of Memorial Cups and two CHL Coach of the Year awards. Boughner also served as Windsor’s president from 2005-21 and franchise owner from 2005-19, during which the team captured another Memorial Cup title in 2017. On the international stage, Boughner served as an assistant coach for his country at the 2018 IIHF World Championship. He also coached Canada to a gold medal at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, going undefeated in the competition.
Originally selected by the Red Wings in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Boughner totaled 72 points (15-57-72), a plus-27 rating and 1,382 penalty minutes in 630 NHL games between the Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche from 1995-06. Boughner also notched 12 assists, a plus-25 rating and 67 penalty minutes in 65 postseason appearances. Prior to turning professional, Boughner recorded 97 points (26-71-97) and 460 penalty minutes in 177 regular-season games with the Soo Greyhounds from 1988-91, serving as team captain in his final season.
Westlund, 46, arrives in Detroit after working the past five seasons in the Washington Capitals’ organization, serving as associate goaltending coach with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. During his tenure, Westlund worked directly with Washington’s minor-league affiliates, providing daily instruction to prospects in Hershey and 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, presented to the goaltender(s) on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season. Additionally, Westlund has guided the duo of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek into becoming regular NHL goaltenders. The Flemington Village, N.J., native joined the Capitals’ organization after spending two years in Germany as the goalie coach with Augsburger Panther Eishockey Club in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga from 2015-17, in addition to working in the same capacity for Medvescak Zagreb of the Kontinental Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Westlund appeared in over 750 professional games over the course of 16 seasons from 1999-15. His time in North America included 13 AHL contests over parts of three seasons between the Worcester IceCats, Milwaukee Admirals, and Hartford Wolf Pack. While playing overseas, Westlund earned league MVP honors with Linz HC of the Austrian Erste Banke Eishockey Liga in 2010 and helped the team secure its second league championship in 2012. He also won the Deutschland Cup as a member of Team USA in 2003 and won a bronze medal representing his country at the 2004 IIHF World Championship. Prior to turning professional, Westlund attended Yale University from 1995-99 and remains the program’s all-time leader in games played (99) and saves (2,704). As a junior, Westlund was named a NCAA Second Team All-American and won the Ken Dryden Award as the ECAC’s Goaltender of the Year.