Houston, Milwaukee name assistant coaches

The Houston Aeros have named Troy Ward as their assistant coach for the 2007-08 season, the team announced Monday.

Ward served as Aeros head coach Kevin Constantine’s assistant for the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons, from 1997-2000. He helped Constantine and the Penguins upset top-seeded New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1999.

Ward’s other assistant coaching stops include two seasons at Indianapolis of the now-defunct International Hockey League, two seasons at the University of Wisconsin and two at the University of Denver.

Ward 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. The next season, Ward served as the ECHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations

He joined Victoria (ECHL) as head coach in mid-season in 2005-06, leading the Salmon Kings to a 12-14-8 record.

Ward first became a head coach in 1993, with Dubuque of the United States Hockey League. He also served as the Fighting Saints’ general manager.

Ward played four seasons of collegiate hockey at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and then was assistant coach there for three seasons.

The Nashville Predators have announced that Brad Lauer has been named the assistant coach for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, the Predators’ primary development affiliate.

Lauer comes to the Admirals after five successful seasons as an assistant coach for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. During the 2006-07 season, Lauer helped the Ice to an impressive 49-17-0-3 record and 104 points which was good for second place in the WHL’s Central Division.

In his five seasons with the Ice the team picked up over 100 points twice and they won 40 games during three campaigns. The team’s winning percentage during that span was a remarkable .638, while their 139 wins over the past three seasons are the most in any three years combined in team history.

“I am very happy to be able to add Brad to our staff for this upcoming season,” said Admirals head coach Lane Lambert. “His experience as a player and a coach will be an asset for myself as well as our players. I am looking forward to working closely with Brad to continue the winning tradition that has been established here in Milwaukee.”

The New York Islanders’ second-round pick in the 1985 draft, Lauer completed a 16-year playing career after the 2001-02 season. In that time he posted 111 points on 44 goals and 67 assists in 323 career NHL games with the Islanders, Chicago, Ottawa and Pittsburgh. He was also a member of the 1991-92 Blackhawks team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Lauer, 40, also established himself as a scoring threat during 13 minor-league seasons, including stints in the AHL with the Springfield Indians and the Capital District Islanders. In 1992-93, he topped all International Hockey League players with 50 goals in just 62 games for Indianapolis, and was a teammate of Lambert’s for two seasons in Cleveland (IHL).