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Blackhawks Fri Aug 01 2008

Hawks welcome Hall-of-Famer

In an offseason full of major moves for the Blackhawks, the most biggest of all was the annoucement yesterday that Scotty Bowman will join the team as a Special Advisor of Hockey Operations.

Bowman is the closest thing to a living hockey icon off the ice, having coached his teams to a record nine Stanley Cup victories. Bowman is the only coach to take 3 different teams (the Canadians, Penguins, and Red Wings) to Finals victories, and his 1,244 regular season and 223 playoff victories are NHL records. Bowman was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 as a builder, and retired from coaching after winning the Cup in 2002 with the Red Wings. Since that time he's worked as a special consultant in Detroit, and has spurned offers from other teams.

So what brings him to Chicago? Family. His son Stan has been in the Hawks organization for eight years, and is currently the team's assistant general manager. Scotty said the chance to work with his son and an organization that is making huge strides prompted the move to the Windy City.

When I went to Detroit as the coach 15 years ago, the team was really on the upswing. Looking at what's here for me and for the Hawks, it's a challenge again. I would say the biggest reason is to work with my son. It doesn't happen often in sports, but it is happening here. It's certainly an exciting day for myself and for the family."

The Blackhawks organization was long-defined by former owner William Wirtz and his right-hand man Bob Pulford, a Hall-of-Famer himself. However, Pulford's involvement in the day-to-day operations of the team is believed to have been a major factor in the team's struggles. When Wirtz passed away and his son Rocky took over, one of his first moves was to move Pulford to a position in the company outside of the Hawks. While Bowman will play a peripheral role as a consultant, he is considered one of the best evaluators and ambassadors of the game, and his mere presence will make the Hawks a stronger organization and provide GM Dale Tallon an invaluable resource to return the Hawks to contenders.

In other Hawk-related news, at the first-ever fan convention July 18-20, the team announced plans to retire the #3 worn by Hall-of-Famer Pierre Pilotte and the late Keith Magnunson. Along with that nod to the past, the team solidified their future by naming 20-year old Jonathon Toews the captain. Toews is the third-youngest player to ever wear the C, and earned the honor after becoming the de facto team leader during his rookie year.

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