Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness will miss his regular-season debut with the team after returning a positive COVID-19 test on Friday afternoon.
The Jets open their season at home against the New York Rangers on Friday night. Jets associate coach Scott Arniel will assume head-coaching duties in the interim.
Bowness was hired by the Jets in the offseason to replace interim coach Dave Lowry. He had spent the previous three seasons coaching the Dallas Stars, leading them to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020. Bowness, the NHL's oldest head coach at 67 years old, began his head-coaching career with the first incarnation of the Jets in the 1988-89 season.
Arniel was head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2010 to '12.
The current NHL COVID testing protocols state that any individual who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will receive a point-of-care molecular COVID-19 test. If the test is positive, the individual must self-isolate. An asymptomatic individual can return to the team after two or more consecutive daily lab-based RT-PCR tests that are negative.
An individual with symptoms must isolate for a minimum of five days from the date of the positive test or when symptoms first appeared. After that, they're evaluated by team medical personnel who will determine if it is medically appropriate for them to return.