DALLAS — That winless three-game trip to Canada for the Dallas Stars got even more miserable on the way home, when their charter plane had to slam on the brakes just before takeoff, and they had to wait six hours for a different aircraft.
Coach Rick Bowness, who has been traveling as an NHL coach or player for more than 47 years, said Saturday night that he had never been afraid on a plane until Friday, when the team was leaving Calgary to return to Texas.
“We’re going full throttle down the runway, full throttle, and all of a sudden [the captain] slams on the brakes. And everything is flying all over, like you’re just not expecting them,” Bowness said before the team’s 3-2 win over the Seattle Kraken. “We think we’re going this way. And all of a sudden … we’re stopped.”
Bowness, the 67-year-old coach who made his debut as an NHL player in December 1975, said the captain initially reported that everything was under control. But the next announcement was that there was a little smoke in the cockpit after de-icing.
The playoff-contending Stars, whose loss Thursday night at Calgary was their third in four nights, eventually got off the plane. They then had the long wait for another plane to arrive from Phoenix to take them back to Texas, and had to go through customs a second time.
Bowness said the team departed its hotel at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The coach got to bed in his home in Texas at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. The Stars canceled their morning skate, and it showed early against the Kraken, who raced out to a 2-0 lead before the home team rallied.
Dallas, two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup Final appearance in the 2020 postseason bubble, has battled back from a slow start to contend in the clogged Western Conference. With the win over Seattle, the Stars are four points ahead of the postseason cutoff line in the West.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.