The Calgary Flames announced today that Troy G. Ward has been named head coach of the Abbotsford Heat, the team’s top affiliate in the American Hockey League.
Ward joined the Flames organization last summer as assistant coach with the Heat following three seasons with the Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate. During the final two seasons with the Aeros, Ward was both the assistant coach & assistant general manager.
“In identifying the Head Coach for Abbotsford we reviewed dozens of resumes and spoke with many highly qualified candidates,” said Flames general manager Jay Feaster. “The panel we assembled, Brent Sutter, Craig Conroy, Ron Sutter, Michael Holditch and I, felt very good about hiring any of our three finalists; however, we were unanimous in our decision that Troy was the right person to lead our revamped development efforts in Abbotsford. As an organization we are committed to teaching and developing our players in a nurturing, positive, winning environment that will speed their progression to Calgary and the NHL, and we are confident that Troy is the right head coach to help us achieve our goals.”
As well as his familiarity to the Flames development system, Ward brings head coaching experience to his new position with the Heat. 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 Salmon Kings mid-season in 2005-06.
Ward first became a head coach in 1987, with his Alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC). 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 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.
He served as assistant coach for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons, from 1997-2000. Ward’s other assistant coaching positions include two seasons at Indianapolis of the International Hockey League, three seasons at the University of Wisconsin and three at the University of Denver.