Last week, Joel Ward officially made the transition from the player ranks to the coaching ranks, joining the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as an assistant. It was mildly surprising that he found a job within the Vegas Golden Knights organization rather than with any of the four franchises he suited up for over his 11-year playing career, including the San Jose Sharks, where he spent his last three seasons.
The hiring of Ward fits perfectly with the heavy emphasis on character that Vegas has placed throughout its coaching ranks. At every level of the organization, you will find proven leaders and passionate, driven, motivated individuals who have bought into the culture around the franchise and helped foster a winning environment. Gerard Gallant was a part of that, and now that has spawned a like-minded group of coaches now separated by just a 20-minute drive down the I-515 rather than a four-hour flight between Chicago and Las Vegas.
That Ward’s hiring has received a disproportionate amount of attention for what is typically afforded an AHL assistant role speaks to both his popularity as a recently retired former player and to his notable status as one of the few Black coaches in professional hockey. It also offers a timely opportunity to take a closer look at some of the other coaches helping to lead the Golden and Silver Knights.
Peter DeBoer, Vegas Head Coach
A journeyman minor leaguer as a player, Peter…