Flames Part Ways With Troy Ward & Robbie Ftorek

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.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    What??!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is the first move from Burke and Trelving that I can honesly say I HATE!

    Why do peope always feel they have to put “their own guys in?”

    Ward was the prefect development coach.

    Stupid, idiotic, moronic, dumbasses! Talk about a poitical, bullshit move! “Thnaks for the great job, you’re fired because never hired you.” There goes the ‘meritocracy.’

  • ChinookArchYYC


    Stupid, idiotic, dumbasss, morons.

    This is the frst move of Burke/Treliving that I can say I hate. So much for the meritocracy. Talk about a bunch of political bullshit.

    “Great job, but I didn’t hire you, so take a hike.”

  • T&A4Flames

    This is the first move by Treliving/Burke that I have to say absokutely out and out sucks. This is total poltical BS. So much for the ‘meritocracy.’

    “Thanks for the great job, but I didn’t hire you so take a hike!”

    This move is completely idiotic. The best development coach we’ve ever had and they turf him during the rebuild.

    Sorry, but this move was stupid!

    • beloch

      Whoa…. that is alittle reactionary… we do not know the details… could be Ward wss not interested in the position if he had to move… he may also have a bead on an assistant position in the NHL.

      To say this was a bad move on Burke’ or Trev’s part is a liitle hasty.

      Orgs often have trouble retaining good coaches in their system . Ward has to put his career development and his family first and if the Flames plans for him dont apign with his career objectives then he is making the right decision to move on.

      Please reserve judgement until you have all the details and considered all of the relevant information as well as the points of view of the people involved.

      • Mort

        It’s a lot reactionary, but that’s how I feel. In the Herald article I read, Ward stated he was ready to move to Glen Falls. Correct in that Burke and Conroy publicly supported him. It seems that this is Treliving wanting his own guy. Ward even indicates that in the article. His Fan interview will be interesting, but the guy is way too smart to air dirty laundry or trash an employer. That’s a one-way ticket to permanent unemployment; point being that we’re only going to learn so much from his interview.

  • T&A4Flames

    I agree with Wolf, this seems like a terrible idea. I wonder if BT already has someone lined up? Ward seemed like he was very well respected by the players and was able to get the kids to work on things they needed to work on.

    IMO, whoever is up next has some big shoes to fill.

  • Gange

    Well I’m actually a little surprised by this. Troy Ward was doing a pretty good job on the development side of things.

    One thing to consider is that Conroy would have had some say in this decision as well. He clearly would have intimate knowledge of how Troy Ward works. So we should probably refrain from any panic.

    It’s also possible that they couldn’t reach agreement on extension or had a core difference of opinion but I guess that’s irrelevant. We move on.

    The focus is now on Treliving, Conroy, and Pascall to replace him with someone equivalent or greater.

  • NHL93

    Is there evidence that this was not mutual? Their contracts weren’t renewed. Perhaps Ward decided he didn’t want to move out to NY. He stated in the Herald that he was preparing himself for the move.. perhaps his family had other ideas.

    We (the FN community) seemed to have put Ward on a pretty high pedestal. Is it really founded? He had a record of teaching some guys how to be a pros and teaching Akim Alu how to wear a tie.. but so do other AHL coaches. I feel like a lot of coaches do quite well turning boys into pros in the AHL (like it’s a bare minimum skill). New GM.. new staff. It’s life. Life sucks sometimes. He seemed like one of the good guys.

    • MonsterPod

      Well said. I know I liked him from the few interviews he did on Fan960 and the team seemed to be playing well down there. But the AHL is wonky. Calder Cups are a crap shoot because the teams are always picked to pieces by the injuries of the NHL. What matters on the farm is development, not really playoff success.

      And to that end, what do we know? We’re just getting glimpses now of Wotherspoon and Granlund and Reinhart, etc. I can’t determine how good Ward is so I will withhold judgement. One thing is clear, Treliving is not afraid to make moves. We’ll see how this fares for Hartley at the end of this season.

  • MonsterPod

    Like Feaster and Wiesbroad I really liked Ward…

    But also like Feaster and Wiesbroad Ward was deemed expendable by the new management group.

    I will hold out judgement until after a replacement has been named and he has shown what he can do for a season but this kind of thing is to be expected.

    The farm team should have an abundance of players on ELC and will be less reliant on vets to carry the load next year so maybe a new direction will yeild positive results…

    I guess we will see.

    One thing I’ve noticed about the new management is they take development very seriously, which has been a problem here for nearly two decades so I believe this move was made with the best interests of the organization in mind.

  • FeyWest

    Clean slate move in my opinion, more fuel for the “Rebuild” fire. Wonder who would be a good fit, if trends keep continueing another up and comer with development and creativity in mind.

  • Colin.S

    So now that everything else that Feaster has put in place management wise has been purged(minus conroy) how long does Hartley have? I’m guessing he’s done either half way through the season(using an interm coach for the rest), or if he lasts the season he’s 100% done at the end of it.

    But back to Ward, I agree with most of the other commentators that this is simply Burke/Treliving moving out anyone who isn’t their guys. I think Ward did a fine job with guys like Byron, Bouma, Brodie, Granlund and Reinhart. He was working with Baertschi as well and I think was making him a better two way player. Ward may not be the most successful AHL coach, but winning the AHL playoffs doesn’t mean that will translate to the NHL. What Ward has done though is turn guys from AHL players into Capable NHLers and that’s whats import.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Why is it so difficult for the media to get comment from BT? Send him a text.

    Ask, what BT values in his coaches (at both developmental and NHL levels).

    I actually thought BT sidestepped all the Hartley questions when he was introduced. Also, reading Ward’s comments it seems that just because Brad is polite and complimentary (as complimentary as Burke was about Ward…and incidentally about Hartley) doesn’t mean much. You might get axed anyway.

    Now, before becoming alarmist, it is important to note:

    Outsiders don’t know the true story. Look at companies, marriages etc. A lot of public niceties but behind closed doors…

    Having said that, how does one measure the success of Ward?

    Did some players not develop under him and were those players of a certain type? The coach uses the players he is given. How can one blame Ward if the team isn’t truculent? He has no truculent players.

    Was the way Lane McDermid was handled an issue?

    It would be nice to have the media act like journalists and ask some questions once in a while. Instead of what we usually get: Fastest to tweet with no follow up.

    Find out damn it!

    • Colin.S

      You just gave me a nightmare, if Ward wasn’t retained because he couldn’t develop guys like McDermid into functional face punchers than this team has a problem. He helped develop one of the best defenders this team has seen in years. As well he developed some very functional depth forwards. If that isn’t viewed as developing the “right guys” than theres a bigger problem than ward not being retained.

      Also the reason theres no questions is because the news was put out on a Saturday afternoon and it’s kind of just been pan over as expected, new guy wants his own guy.

  • Colin.S

    Wow, many FN fans do not like change. This is just the beginning. Wait and see the changes Burke and team make in the next 18 -24 months. You will not even recognize the Flames when these guys are done.

    If you don’t like it keep reminding yourself this team has not made the playoffs since hell froze over. They are a bottom 5 team and changes are required!!

    If you don’t like it then keep watching the other teams in the spring like you have been doing regularly!

  • Colin.S

    Burke and Feaster never saw eye to eye on players, drafting, scouting and coaching. With Burke at the helm he’s going to part with a lot of people and decisions made by Feaster. I hope just doesn’t too much and go overboard and trade Baertschi or Backlund. I think Burke is unpredictable and I’m not sure aside from getting ‘bigger’ how he wants to model the new Flames.

  • beloch

    There are a couple of explanations that are plausible and do not reflect too horribly on Burke/Treliving. These are plausible because Ward’s contract was up. If he was bought out of it things would look a lot different.

    1. Ward was approached by a NHL club, not to coach their farm team, but to coach their NHL club. The choice would then be between Ward and Hartley.

    2. Burke/Treliving have a clearly superior AHL coach lined up.

    If Ward winds up flipping burgers and some college buddy of Treliving winds up in Adirondack, then we can go nuts.

  • ngthagg

    This is disappointing for me. Sure, there are a ton of things going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, and we don’t know what the future will bring–for Ward or for Adirondack. But what we do know is that Ward was doing a good job coaching the farm team. Players moving from the Heat to the Flames were generally well prepared and capable, and that’s something we can’t afford to lose.

    • ngthagg

      Totally… there are so many possible outcomes as well… I liked Ward but if his replacement turns out to be superior then obviously it wouldnt be a bad move in hindsight.

      Obviously everyone is a little confused… but at the end of the day if we want to contend then we need the best people in every position.

      Ward was good but that doesnt mean we should stop improving.

  • DragonFlame

    To let Troy ward is a HUGE mistake! Coach Hartley had success with the HEAT callups because of the work that Troy Ward did at Abbotsford. If he winds up with the Canucks organization – well, that would really Suck!

  • Mort

    I sort of hope Ward wanted out. Not because I don’t like him; I would have been more than happy for him to stay with the Heat, or maybe even moving up to coach the Flames if Hartley got canned.

    No, the reason I hope Ward wanted out is because if he didn’t, it seems like the Flames management just tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. Ward, as far as anyone can tell, did a great job with the kids in Abbotsford.

  • DragonFlame

    Troy Ward will be on the morning show on Fan 960 tomorrow. Perhaps he can shed some light and end all the FN speculation.

    This appears to be Treliving’s choice, not Burke’s (remember Burke wholly endorsed Ward when he addressed the media at season’s end. Also remember that Burke said Treliving was in charge of personnel decisions going forward).