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Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Friedman: Flames to decide Geoff Ward’s fate in ‘next week or two’

Good news, everybody! The ever-looming question of who is going to coach the Calgary Flames in 2020-21 – whenever that season begins – won’t be looming for too much longer. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman updated the situation on Saturday night’s edition of Headlines.

Here’s what Friedman said:

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On the Calgary coaching situation, you know Geoff Ward came in there under extremely difficult circumstances and really stabilized the team. The Flames have to decide if he’s going to be their head coach for next year. I’ve heard that they’re really not going to let this linger and we’re probably going to know in the next week or two what direction they’re going to go in. If it’s going to be Ward or if it’s going to be somebody else.

Ward was hired as the Flames’ associate coach prior to the 2018-19 season and was promoted to interim coach in November 2019 after Bill Peters resigned in disgrace amidst allegations of prior racial misconduct (and physical abuse) towards former players, notably Akim Aliu.

Under Ward the Flames went 25-15-3 to finish the regular season and he earned a lot of praise from management and the team’s players for stabilizing the team, calming the group down, and helping them focus on hockey during a really tumultuous period of time. Called a player’s coach, he was lauded for an open door policy that helped inform line shuffling that led to Mikael Backlund having a superb last six weeks of the season.

Per last week’s media availability, Ward would like to return (and is open to returning as associate coach if another individual is chosen as head coach). Either way, we’ll have a decision on the team’s coaching direction in a week or two.