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Ward named Falcons’ head coach

The Springfield Falcons, proud members of the American Hockey League, announced today that Geoff Ward has been named head coach of the Falcons by their National Hockey League affiliate, the Edmonton Oilers. Ward is the eighth head coach in Falcons franchise history.

“We are extremely excited to have Geoff join the Falcons organization and lead our team on the ice starting this coming season,” said Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon. “Geoff brings to Springfield a good amount of AHL head coaching experience and he will be a coach that is very familiar with the Oilers organization.”

Ward, who is a native of Manitouwadge, Ont., spent the 2006-07 campaign coaching in Germany as the head bench boss of the Iserlohn Roosters. Prior to his coaching experience in Germany, the 45-year-old Ward served as the Oilers’ development coach during the 2005-06 season as Edmonton came within one win of their sixth Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history.

“We are pleased to welcome Geoff back to the Oilers,” stated Edmonton Oilers assistant general manager Scott Howson. “Geoff was a very valuable member of the organization during his previous time with the team. He has a proven track record when it comes to developing players and we look forward to him working with our young players in Springfield.”

Ward has served as the head coach of the Oilers’ primary AHL affiliate on three separate occasions, most recently spending the 2004-05 campaign as the head bench boss of the Edmonton Road Runners. Ward also served as the head coach of the Toronto Roadrunners during the 2003-04 season.

Ward’s coaching experience with the Edmonton organization started in January of 2001 when he served as Claude Julien’s assistant and he helped lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to within one win of the 2002 Calder Cup Finals. Ward started the 2002-03 campaign as Julien’s assistant coach with Hamilton, but finished the year as the Bulldogs’ head coach after Julien joined the Montreal Canadiens in January of 2003. Ward led Hamilton to the 2003 Calder Cup Finals losing to the Houston Aeros in seven games. Ward and Julien were named co-winners of the AHL’s Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award in 2003 given annually to the league’s coach of the year.