Geoff Ward Resigns, Joins Mannheim Eagles as Head Coach
BostonBruins.com - When the 2014-15 season kicks off for the Bruins in October, Geoff Ward will no longer be behind the bench.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced via a team press release on Thursday that Ward has resigned as assistant coach, and is joining the Mannheim Eagles in Germany as head coach.
Ward has had two previous head coaching stints in Germany with Bad Nauheim EC in 2000-01 and the Iserlohn Roosters in 2006-07, amidst a 20-year coaching career in the OHL, AHL and NHL.
Mannheim plays in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). It's the same team that Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg played for during the 2012-13 lockout, and where he first began his pro career in 2000.
Ward spent seven seasons with the Bruins, first joining the organization in August 2007 as part of Head Coach Claude Julien's staff. He was an integral part of the Bruins' resurgence as a Cup contender, helping lead the team to the Stanley Cup in 2011 and a second Final appearance in 2013.
Adopting Boston as home, Ward also spent time in the community representing the organization. During the 2012 lockout, Ward and the staff's presence was even greater around Boston, helping to host youth hockey clinics.
In Boston, Ward specialized in the power play and extra attacker situations, with the team's man-advantage finishing third in the NHL in 2013-14. It marked the highest ranking during his time with the Bruins, and the highest since the team finished fourth in 2008-09.
Ward first served on Julien's staff in 2001-02 as an assistant coach with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, when they were an affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.
He assumed the role of head coach midway through the 2002-03 season, when Julien earned the head coaching position with Montreal (Hamilton served as the affiliate for both Edmonton and Montreal that season). The pair shared AHL Coach of the Year that season. Ward's squad went all the way to Game 7 of the Calder Cup Final before falling to Houston.
The Mannheim Eagles' Twitter account posted a photo on Thursday announcing the hiring of Ward. The hiring comes after longtime German coach Hans Zach retired following the 2013-14 season.
Herzlich willkommen in Mannheim, Geoff Ward! pic.twitter.com/aJHxGc7HcX— Adler Mannheim (@adlermannheim) June 19, 2014
Along with replacing Ward behind the bench, GM Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins are also tasked this offseason with filling the role of Assistant GM Jim Benning, who left to join Vancouver as General Manager in May.
Before we bid adieu to Coach Ward and wish him all the best, take a look back at one of the lighter moments during his time with the Bruins. Assistant coaches aren't often in the spotlight, but back in March 2013, a video went viral in which Ward appeared to take off his earpiece (connecting him with the 'eyes in the sky' assistant coach Doug Jarvis in the press box) and toss it over the glass, landing in a fan's beverage. Not so fast, as Ward straightened out the facts in this video on bostonbruinsTV.