After the big unveiling of the full management team on Friday, the Calgary Flames quietly announced that the Adirondack Flames will have a brand-new coaching staff for its debut season.
Abbotsford Heat coach Troy Ward and assistant coach Robbie Ftorek had expiring contracts and the big club announced their contracts will not be renewed.
Ward had been with the Heat for four of its five years of existence, joining as an assistant coach under Jim Playfair for the 2010-11 season (replacing Jared Bednar). When Playfair left for the Phoenix Coyotes, Ward was promoted by Jay Feaster to head coach. Under Ward, the Heat went 119-83-12-14 and made the playoffs twice but winning just one playoff round.
Ftorek joined the Heat over the summer, replacing Cail MacLean and Luke Strand as Ward’s second-in-command. By all accounts he was rather toned down from his old boisterous self, but did work well with the team’s prospects.
So why lose Ward after three years? Well, he was a Feaster hire, and despite performances being fairly strong, quite simply the new management group probably wanted to try out somebody new. You can probably nit-pick a few things – the Heat won just one playoff round, for instance – but Ward’s development program consistently put players into the NHL – T.J. Brodie and Lance Bouma are probably his big successes.
As for the new staff, development camp opens on July 1, and typically the AHL coaching staff runs a lot of the show. If that holds true, I’d expect an announcement of the Adirondack Flames staff prior to the draft or immediately afterwards.