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Ted Nolan

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Ted Nolan (Born - April 7, 1958, on the Garden River Ojibwa First Nations Reserve outside of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada) is the former Head Coach of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. Nolan, a retired Canadian professional Left Winger played 3 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. He also coached for 2 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Buffalo Sabres, after serving as assistant coach for one season with the Hartford Whalers.

Nolan, and his wife Sandra, are the parents of Brandon Nolan, a Vancouver Canucks draft pick playing for the AHL's Albany River Rats, and Jordan Nolan of the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds[1].

Ted is very active in his foundation, the Ted Nolan Foundation “Through the philosophy of healthy Lifestyle , the Ted Nolan Foundation is committed to the healing process to renew and revitalize the mind, body and spirit of our young people. We will explore to help us train a new cadre of Aboriginal leaders today, to take their rightful place in Canadian society tomorrow. We will help develop programs at the community level for First Nations youth in communities no matter how isolated or poverty stricken. We will raise scholarship funds for First Nation women wishing to complete their education.”

Playing career Edit

As a player, he played left-wing for the Ontario Hockey Association's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, the Kansas City Red Wings of the Central Hockey League, and the Adirondack Red Wings, Rochester Americans and Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League. He also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League from early to mid-1980s.

Coaching career Edit

Ontario Hockey League Edit

Nolan became head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 1988, as a mid-season replacement and coached there until the end of the 1994 season. Nolan led the Greyhounds to the three consecutive Memorial Cup tournament berths, winning the Canadian national junior championship in 1993.

Buffalo Sabres, 1995–1997 Edit

Nolan was hired before the 1994–95 NHL season as an assistant coach by the Hartford Whalers for one season before accepting the position of head coach of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres where he had his greatest success. In his second season in Buffalo, he led the team to a strong regular season, culminating in the Northeast Division title. He was rewarded with the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach.

However his relationships with superstar goaltender Dominik Hašek and general manager John Muckler were strained. The regular season success was all overshadowed by what took place during the playoffs. Tensions between Nolan and Hašek had been high for most of the season, however, after being scored upon in game three of the first-round against the Ottawa Senators, Hašek left the game, forcing backup Steve Shields to step in. Hašek claimed he felt his knee pop, and the team doctor pronounced him day-to-day. Buffalo News columnist Jim Kelley wrote a column that night for the next day's newspaper that detailed the day's events, which irked Hašek. After the Senators won game five, Hašek came out of the Sabres' training room and physically attacked Kelley, tearing his shirt. Despite issuing an apology, things went downhill afterwards. Shields starred as the Sabres rallied to win the series against Ottawa. But before the next series against the Philadelphia Flyers, the NHL announced that Hasek had been suspended for three games for the altercation with Kelley. Hasek was set to return in game four with the team down by three games in the series, but after the pregame skate Hasek told the Sabres' coaching staff he felt a twinge in his knee and left the ice. Shields turned in another season-saving performance as Buffalo staved off the almost inevitable sweeping elimination with a win. Again before the fifth game, Hašek declared himself unfit to play and Buffalo lost 6–3, losing the series in five games.

Hašek, who sided with Muckler, stated in an interview during 1997 NHL Awards Ceremony that "it would be better for me if he (Nolan) did not return." Muckler, fresh off of being voted the NHL's 1996–97 Executive of the Year, was the first casualty of this toxic situation and was fired prior to the 1997–98 season. Darcy Regier, Muckler's replacement as GM, was given the option to choose his own coach. Rather than fire Nolan, whose two-year contract had just expired, Regier offered him a one-year extension, reportedly for $500,000. After such a successful 1997 season working with a "blue collar" team full of grinders and with only one star, Hasek, Nolan found the offer insulting and rejected it.[1] Regier then pulled the contract off the table and did not offer another one, ending Nolan's tenure as Sabres coach.

Post-Sabres career Edit

Following his departure from Buffalo, Nolan was offered NHL coaching jobs in 1997 by the Tampa Bay Lightning (head coach) and in 1998 by the New York Islanders (assistant coach). Nolan declined both offers. It is said Nolan was not offered an NHL coaching job again until May 2006, a span of eight years, and speculation as to why ranged from outright racism to a perceived fear that Nolan is a "GM Killer" based on his acrimonious working relationship with former boss Muckler.

In 2003, Nolan was in talks to become the coach for the Toronto Toros of the new World Hockey Association, but it never got past talks, and the new WHA never formed. On 26 April 2005, he was hired as the coach and director of hockey operations for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, who would host the 2006 Memorial Cup.

On December 16, 2005, Nolan was the victim of racial harassment during a Wildcats road game against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Fans in the stands shouted racial slurs at him and directed gestures such as the "tomahawk chop" and shooting a bow and arrow towards him as he stood behind the Moncton bench. Fans continued to taunt Nolan outside the arena after the game as he boarded the team bus with his players. The incident, he said later, left him shaking with anger and humiliation. The fans' behavior was condemned both by the QMJHL commissioner and Sagueneens management, the latter of which issued formal apology to Nolan. As a result of the events that transpired in Chicoutimi, he referred to the Saguenay Region as being the "Alabama" of the QMJHL. After, he also had criticized the Gatineau Olympiques organisation for putting the 'Tomahawk Chop' song, which he said was racist. Because of the incident, the QMJHL launched a new anti-discrimination policy that covers everyone involved with the circuit, from team and league officials, to players and fans.[2]

On December 25, 2005, it was reported that Nolan expressed interest in leaving Moncton to fill the New Jersey Devils coaching vacancy left by Larry Robinson. Despite this, the Devils never publicly mentioned Nolan as a potential replacement.

Nolan's Wildcats reached the Memorial Cup final only to lose to the Quebec Remparts coached by Patrick Roy on May 28, 2006.

Nolan travels widely during the summer, attending hockey camps in Northern Canada and working to inspire young native players to get an education and to pursue their dreams. Despite his recent hiring as head coach of the Isles, he still found time to attend a hockey camp in Whitehorse, Yukon in mid-July 2006.

New York Islanders, 2006–2008 Edit

When the New York Islanders fired head coach Steve Stirling in January 2006, team owner Charles Wang reportedly called Nolan to ask him to take over the team. Nolan said that he felt a sense of responsibility toward Moncton and would not leave them mid-season.

On June 8, 2006, Wang dismissed interim coach Brad Shaw and announced the hiring of Nolan as the new head coach. New York Post hockey columnist Larry Brooks quickly criticized Wang for hiring Nolan at the same time that he hired a new general manager, Neil Smith, rather than allow Smith to hire a coach who would report to him.[2] On July 18, Smith was fired as general manager and Garth Snow was named as his replacement.

In his first season with the Islanders in 2006–07, he led the team to a surprising 92 point season and its first playoff berth since 2003–04. On April 20, 2007, Ted Nolan's 8th seeded Islanders fell in five games to his former team, the top-seeded Buffalo Sabres.

In his second season, Nolan led the Islanders to a record of 35–38–9 for 79 points. On November 3, 2007, legendary coach Al Arbour returned at the request of Nolan, to coach his 1,500th game for the Islanders in a 3–2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On July 14, 2008, Newsday reported that Ted Nolan was dismissed as Islanders coach by Islanders GM Garth Snow.

Awards & achievementsEdit

NHL Coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T OTL Pts FinishW L Result
BUF1995–96 8233427-734th in Northeast--Missed Playoffs
BUF1996–97 82403012-921st in Northeast57Lost in Conf. Semi-Finals
BUF Total 164737219-165571 Playoff Appearance
NYI2006–07 824030-12924th in Atlantic14Lost in Conf. Quarter-Finals
NYI2007–08 81*3438-9795th in Atlantic--Missed Playoffs
  • Al Arbour was Head coach for 1500th Game
NYI Total 1637468-2117114 1 Playoff Appearance
Total 3271471401921336611 2 Playoff Appearances

Career statistics (Player)Edit

National Hockey League - Regular Season

  • Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes
1981–82 Detroit Red Wings 41 4 13 17 45
1982–83 Played in the AHL
1983–84 Detroit Red Wings 19 1 2 3 26
1984–85 Pittsburgh Penguins 18 1 1 2 34
NHL Regular Season Totals 78 6 16 22 105

American Hockey League - Regular Season

  • Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes
1979–80 Adirondack Red Wings 75 16 24 40 106
1980–81 Adirondack Red Wings 76 22 28 50 86
1981–82 Adirondack Red Wings 39 12 18 30 81
1982–83 Adirondack Red Wings 78 24 40 64 106
1983–84 Adirondack Red Wings 31 10 16 26 76
1984–85 Rochester Americans 65 28 34 62 152
1985–86 Baltimore Skipjacks 10 4 4 8 19
AHL Regular Season Totals 374 116 164 280 626

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