Put on your shocked faces, folks, for the Calgary Flames have a new head coach. After a lengthy interim period dating back to last November, Geoff Ward has been given the role on a full-time basis.
Some news to kick off your week!
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) September 14, 2020
It’s Ward’s first kick at the can as a full-time NHL head coach, but he was formerly the interim coach in Calgary after replacing Bill Peters (who resigned in disgrace in November 2019 amidst corroborated allegations of racism). He was previously associate coach for a season for the Flames, but also worked with the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins as an assistant.
Ward, 58, has worked in high-end hockey as a coach dating back to 1989, and has worked in basically every level of hockey during that period. He’s coached in junior A, Canadian university, the OHL, the ECHL, the AHL, two levels of German hockey, the World Championships, and the NHL. He has a Stanley Cup ring from the 2011 Boston Bruins Cup run, as well as a DEL championship from his time with Adler Mannheim in Germany.
Ward built a reputation in Boston and New Jersey as a savvy strategic mind, particularly with his approach to the Bruins and Devils power plays. His hiring as associate coach by the Flames in 2018 was designed to help boost their special teams bonafides. Since his arrival, he built strong relationships with the players and it seems likely that the team’s affection for him as a coach, as well as a desire not to hire yet another coach for the team’s core group, led to his hiring full-time. (He’s Brad Treliving’s fourth head coach since arriving in 2014.) Ward was a finalist for the role in 2015 when it ended up going to Glen Gulutzan.
Ward is the 20th fully-fledged coach in Flames franchise history.