The Detroit Red Wings are known for having employed some of the greatest players in NHL history. Household names such as Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Terry Sawchuck, and others are enshrined forever in Red Wings history with their numbers retired, and their multiple accolades are something to behold.
Of course, the team has featured some of the most legendary bench bosses in NHL history. Let’s take a look at the top coaches in the long story of one of hockey’s greatest teams.
5. Jacques Demers
Demers led the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup championship in 1993, and also coached the Quebec Nordiques, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning. But Red Wings fans will forever remember Demers for his tenure as head coach of the Red Wings, during which he named 21-year old Steve Yzerman as team captain.
“When I was looking for a captain, I wanted a guy with the Red Wings crest tattooed on his chest,” Demers would explain. “Steve Yzerman was that guy.”
Demers would earn the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s top coach twice with Detroit, including after leading the Red Wings back to the postseason in his first year in the Motor City.
4. Tommy Ivan
Ivan guided the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup titles between 1947 and 1954; he also won six regular season titles during his time with Detroit.
3. Mike Babcock
Putting aside the controversies that would surface after his departure from the Motor City, you can’t argue with the accomplishments that Mike Babcock enjoyed during his time in Detroit. Following his hiring by the Red Wings in 2005, he proceeded to win a total of 458 games that included four straight 50-win seasons, the 2008 Stanley Cup falling one win short of a repeat in 2009. As of 2021, he’s the winningest coach in team history.
2. Jack Adams
Prior to Babcock surpassing his mark, it was Jack Adams who held the title of winningest coach in Red Wings team history. His name appears on the Stanley Cup as a member of the team a total of seven times, with three of them coming as head coach (1936, 1937, 1943) and another four during his years as general manager. He was honored by having the Jack Adams Trophy named for him, awarded annually to the NHL’s best bench boss,.
1. Scotty Bowman
The legendary Scotty Bowman, who won nine Stanley Cup championships as a head coach, guided the Red Wings to their first championship in 42 years in 1997, followed by a repeat in 1998 and again in 2002 before calling it a career.