Will Restarting the Season Be A Bigger Risk for Head Coaches Due to COVID-19?

NHL training camps are scheduled to open on July 10 at the designated home base (hub city) for each of the playoff teams, with playoffs anticipated to start sometime in August. One potential concern is that coaches could be very vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age.

At the present time, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) considers persons over 65, especially with underlying conditions, to be more vulnerable to severe consequences if they contract the disease.

In examining the data on NHL head coaches, as of this writing, there is just one head coach who is 65 and that is Rick Bowness of the Dallas Stars.

  • There are four other coaches between the ages of 60-65;
  • 15 coaches between the ages of 50-59;
  • nine coaches between the ages of 40-49 and
  • just two under the age of 40.

The average age is 52.3 years with a standard deviation of 6.8 years, the median age is 53, and the mode is 52.

TEAM NAME DOB Age
Dallas Stars Rick Bowness 1/25/1955 65
Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella 6/24/1958 61
Florida Panthers Joel Quenneville 9/15/1958 61
Buffalo Sabres Ralph Krueger 8/31/1959 60
Montreal Canadiens Claude Julien 4/23/1960 60
Philadelphia Flyers Alain Vigneault 5/14/1961 59
Calgary Flames Geoff Ward 4/8/1962 58
Edmonton Oilers Dave Tippett 8/25/1961 58
New York Islanders Barry Trotz 7/15/1962 57
Arizona Coyotes Rick Tocchet 4/9/1964 56
Boston Bruins Bruce Cassidy 5/20/1965 55
Minnesota Wild Dean Evason 8/22/1964 55
St. Louis Blues Craig Berube 12/17/1965 54
Anaheim Ducks Dallas Eakins 2/27/1967 53
New York Rangers David Quinn 7/30/1966 53
Winnipeg Jets Paul Maurice 1/30/1967 53
Los Angeles Kings Todd McLellan 10/3/1967 52
Pittsburgh Penguins Mike Sullivan 2/27/1968 52
Tampa Bay Lightning Jon Cooper 8/23/1967 52
Vegas Golden Knights Peter DeBoer 6/13/1968 52
Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour 8/9/1970 49
San Jose Sharks Bob Boughner 3/8/1971 49
Vancouver Canucks Travis Green 12/20/1970 49
Colorado Avalanche Jared Bednar 2/28/1972 48
Washington Capitals Todd Reirden 6/25/1971 48
Detroit Red Wings Jeff Blashill 12/10/1973 46
Nashville Predators John Hynes 2/10/1975 45
New Jersey Devils Alain Nasreddine 7/10/1975 44
Ottawa Senators D.J. Smith 5/13/1977 43
Toronto Maple Leafs Sheldon Keefe 9/17/1980 39
Chicago Blackhawks Jeremy Colliton 1/13/1985 35
Average 52.3
Median 53
Mode 52
Stan Dev 6.8

There are slight changes of coaches of teams in the playoffs in that there would be

  • four coaches between the ages of 60-65;
  • 15 coaches between the ages of 50-59;
  • five coaches between the ages of 40-49, and
  • two under the age of 40.

The average age is 53.0 years with a standard deviation of 6.7 years, the median age is 53, and the mode is 52.

TEAM NAME DOB Age
Dallas Stars Rick Bowness 1/25/1955 65
Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella 6/24/1958 61
Florida Panthers Joel Quenneville 9/15/1958 61
Montreal Canadiens Claude Julien 4/23/1960 60
Philadelphia Flyers Alain Vigneault 5/14/1961 59
Calgary Flames Geoff Ward 4/8/1962 58
Edmonton Oilers Dave Tippett 8/25/1961 58
New York Islanders Barry Trotz 7/15/1962 57
Arizona Coyotes Rick Tocchet 4/9/1964 56
Boston Bruins Bruce Cassidy 5/20/1965 55
Minnesota Wild Dean Evason 8/22/1964 55
St. Louis Blues Craig Berube 12/17/1965 54
Anaheim Ducks Dallas Eakins 2/27/1967 53
New York Rangers David Quinn 7/30/1966 53
Winnipeg Jets Paul Maurice 1/30/1967 53
Los Angeles Kings Todd McLellan 10/3/1967 52
Pittsburgh Penguins Mike Sullivan 2/27/1968 52
Tampa Bay Lightning Jon Cooper 8/23/1967 52
Vegas Golden Knights Peter DeBoer 6/13/1968 52
Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour 8/9/1970 49
Vancouver Canucks Travis Green 12/20/1970 49
Colorado Avalanche Jared Bednar 2/28/1972 48
Washington Capitals Todd Reirden 6/25/1971 48
Nashville Predators John Hynes 2/10/1975 45
Toronto Maple Leafs Sheldon Keefe 9/17/1980 39
Chicago Blackhawks Jeremy Colliton 1/13/1985 35
Average 53.0
Median 53
Mode 52
Stan Dev 6.7

It has not been easy to find statistics on the death rates per age demographic for the United States and Canada as a whole, but we did find statistics for one individual state; i.e. California.

Granted, the statistics for California are an incomplete sample, but within that state, cases contracted for persons between the ages of 35-49 had a .66 chance of being fatal, those between the ages of 50-59 had a 1.87 chance of being fatal, those between the ages of 60-64 had a 3.66 chance of being fatal, and those between the ages of 65-70 had a 6.68 chance of being fatal.

Suffice to say, if most of the NHL coaches contracted COVID-19, it could be like playing Russian Roulette.  The demographics of Assistant Head Coaches likely skews similarly.

Age Group ​No. Cases ​No. Deaths ​Percent Fatal Cases
35-49 37,442 249 0.66
50-59 23,926 447 1.87
60-64 9,431 345 3.66
65-69 6,841 457 6.68

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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