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Heat add Troy Ward as assistant coach

Calgary Flames executive vice president & general manager Darryl Sutter announced today that Troy Ward has been named assistant coach for the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.

Ward joins the Flames organization following three seasons with the Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate, the past two in the position of assistant coach & assistant general manager.

Ward served as an assistant coach with the Aeros during the 2007-08 season and primarily focused on developing the Aeros young defensive corps. The Aeros’ defense allowed a league-low 183 goals and had a team record 32-point improvement. In 2008 his role was expanded to include the assistant general manager responsibilities of overseeing the day-to-day hockey operations of the club.

Ward served as the ECHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations in 2001-02 and was also the general manager/head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League in 1993.

In addition to his managerial background, Ward has had success coaching at all levels of hockey. Houston was Ward’s second stop as an assistant for Kevin Constantine. He served for the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons, from 1997-2000. Ward’s other assistant coaching stops include two seasons at Indianapolis of the now-defunct International Hockey League, three seasons at the University of Wisconsin and three at the University of Denver.

He was named the ECHL’s Coach of the Year for the 2000-01 season when he led Trenton to the Kelly Cup Finals with a 50-18-4 record. He also joined ECHL Victoria in mid-season in 2005-06, leading the Salmon Kings to a 12-14-8 record.

Ward first became a head coach in 1987, with his Alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Ward played four seasons of collegiate hockey at UWEC, which included winning the NAIA national championship in 1984, and was assistant coach there for two seasons prior to becoming the Head Coach.

Ward is also the founder and owner of Hockey and Sons, a hockey camp concept for both the parent and child to participate on-ice together. The camp runs three times each summer on the campus of Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota.

Ward will join the staff of head Coach Jim Playfair in Abbotsford along with second year assistant coach Steve O’Rourke.