Interim no longer: Flames officially name Geoff Ward as head coach
CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will enter the 2020-2021 season with Geoff Ward at the helm after the organization announced the decision to make permanent his status as head coach.
Ward was promoted from associate coach to interim bench boss in November 2019 following the resignation of Bill Peters amidst allegations Peters had used racial slurs years earlier during his time in the AHL.
Under Ward, the Flames had a 25-15-3 regular season record and qualified for the playoffs after disposing of the Winnipeg Jets in the best-of-five play-in series.
The Flames faltered in the opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing to the Dallas Stars in six games.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving said, "I thought Geoff and his staff did a real good job during a difficult circumstance...and getting through that and just stabilizing our team."
Treliving didn't want to talk about who ele he spoke to about the job.
"You're aware of what's out there...in terms of the coaching landscape," he said. "At the end of the day, after completing the process and spending a lot of time with Geoff and spending time with our management group here, I felt Geoff was the absolute best person to carry us forward."
Ward said, "I'm excited about our team. I'm excited about the opportunity that lies in front of us in Calgary, and the fact that able to stay around some awfully great people in our organization over the next little while in order to get that happening."
What does Ward think will make him a successful head coach?
"I don't think necessarily you need to be liked," he said. "But I think you need to be trusted by your players. Your players need to know that you're effective, and you know certainly...and you need to be able to communicate with your players."
Terms of Ward's contract have not been released.
Prior to joining the Flames ahead of the 2018-2019 season, Ward served as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins and was a head coach in the AHL, ECHL and OHL.