In the wake of Bill Peters resignation following the accusations of racist comments and physical abuse, the Calgary Flames named associate coach Geoff Ward the interim head coach on Friday.
A longtime assistant coach in the NHL, Ward takes over a team that is not only dealing with the off-ice issues surrounding the now-former head coach, but one that has struggled to be consistent on the ice.
MORE: Bill Peters investigation: What to know, latest news
His story goes well beyond the rink. He was a high school and elementary teacher in Ontario. From the classroom to Calgary, here’s what you need to know about the Flames’ interim bench boss.
Where is Geoff Ward from?
A native of Waterloo, Ont., Ward actually started his coaching career at the University of Waterloo as an assistant coach under Don Mckee from 1989 to 1992.
Did Geoff Ward play in the NHL?
No, Ward never made it onto an NHL roster. In fact, no records were found of Ward’s playing days, suggesting there were none — or at least no organized activity.
Does Geoff Ward have NHL head-coaching experience?
No, Ward has never been the head man on an NHL bench. He has been an assistant for three teams spanning just over 11 seasons.
He has head coaching experience in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League), ECHL (East Coast Hockey league), AHL (American Hockey league) and DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga).
How long has Geoff Ward been coaching?
Ward began his coaching experience with Waterloo before becoming an assistant coach with the Niagara Falls Thunder of the Ontario Hockey League for the 1992-93 season. After six seasons in the OHL — five as a head coach, including four with the Kitchener Rangers — Ward hit the ECHL in the 1999-00 season with the Arkansas RiverBlades.
In 2001 he made his AHL head-coaching debut with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal and Edmonton’s AHL affiliate.
Breaking onto the NHL scene as an assistant coach for the Boston Bruins in 2007-08, Ward spent his first seven NHL seasons with the B’s. He would then travel down to New Jersey and serve on the Devils’ bench for three seasons before leaving for his most recent role as associate coach of the Flames ahead of the 2018-19 season. His promotion comes just over one season into his Calgary tenure, giving him his first gig as an NHL head coach.
Notable players Geoff Ward coached in his career
Before his time on NHL benches, Ward had the opportunity to coach some prominent NHLers during his tenures with Niagara, Kitchener, Guelph and Hamilton/Toronto/Edmonton.
Here are the players coached under Ward’s direction:
(Niagara) Ethan Moreau, Manny Legace; (Kitchener) Boyd Devereaux; (Guelph) Brian McGrattan, Craig Anderson; (Hamilton/Toronto/Edmonton) Jason Chimera, Fernando Pisani, Sven Butenschoen, Alexei Semenov, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Louie DeBrusk, Shawn Horcoff, Ty Conklin, Jason Ward, Michael Ryder, Jarret Stoll, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Mariusz Czerkawski, Bill Lindsay, Ron Hainsey, Francis Bouillon, Donald Audette, Raffi Torres, Marty Reasoner, Mike Ribeiro, Mathieu Garon, Chris Higgins, Karl Dykhuis, Chad Kilger, Brad Winchester, Kyle Brodziak, Toby Petersen and Igor Ulanov.