HOUSTON – The Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League announced that they have named former ECHL coach Troy Ward as their assistant coach.
The Texas Wildcatters are the ECHL affiliate of the Aeros of the AHL and the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League, marking the seventh season in a row that the ECHL has had affiliations with 20 or more teams, and there has been a former ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion each of the past 18 years.
In addition to Ward, there are 13 assistant coaches in the AHL who have ECHL experience with Scott Allen of Quad City, Pat Bingham of Bridgeport, Dan Bylsma of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, David Cunniff of Worcester, J.J. Daigneault of Hartford, Kevin Dean of Lowell, Ted Dent of Rockford, Gord Dineen of Portland, Neil Little of Philadelphia, Moe Mantha of Rochester, Davis Payne of Peoria, Kjell Samuelsson of Philadelphia and Bob Woods of Hershey.
There are 10 former ECHL coaches who are head coaches in the AHL with Dave Allison of Iowa, Dave Baseggio of Peoria, Bruce Boudreau of Hershey, Jack Capuano of Bridgeport, Kevin Dineen of Portland, Scott Gordon of Providence, Mike Haviland of Rockford, Greg Ireland of San Antonio, Kurt Kleinendorst of Lowell, and Roy Sommer of Worcester. Former ECHL player and coach Al MacIsaac is general manager of hockey operations for Rockford and former coach Scott White is director of hockey operations for Iowa.
Ward was named ECHL Coach of the Year and was selected to coach in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2000-01 when Trenton finished first in the league at 50-18-4 and advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals. The Titans led the league in wins, points and winning percentage (.722) while setting league records for fewest goals allowed (164) and fewest goals per game (2.28) and tying the records for road wins (25) and shutouts (9). He took over midseason as head coach for Victoria in 2005-06 and led the Salmon Kings to a 12-14-8 record.
Ward, who was senior vice president of hockey operations for the ECHL in 2001-02, has 20 years of coaching experience including three seasons as associate head coach for the University of Wisconsin and two and one half seasons as an assistant coach for current Houston coach Kevin Constantine when he was head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL from 1997-2000.