The Calgary Flames have fired head coach Geoff Ward and hired Darryl Sutter as his replacement, the team announced late Thursday.
Sutter was head coach of the Flames from 2002 to 2006 and general manager of the organization from 2003 to 2010. He led Calgary to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.
After leaving the Flames, Sutter joined the Los Angeles Kings as head coach from 2011 to 2017. He won two Cups in the City of Angels and moved on to become an adviser with the Anaheim Ducks before he was brought back to the Red Mile.
Sutter’s all-time coaching record with the Flames currently stands at 107-73-15-15. His all-time record with the Flames, Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, and San Jose Sharks is 634-467-101-83, good for 17th overall in National Hockey League wins.
According to sources, Sutter signed a three-year contract with the franchise.
Under Ward, Calgary posted an 11-11-2 record. He took over the post after the resignation of Bill Peters in November of 2019. In his first NHL coaching gig, Ward finished with a record of 35-26-5. In 42 games last season after his takeover, the Flames went 24-15-3 to finish eighth in the Western Conference.
Now, the Flames are fifth in the North Division, two points behind the Montreal Canadiens and just outside of a playoff spot.
For general manager Brad Treliving, the Sutter hire is his fourth head coach in the last five years.
“We’re not spending a whole lot of time on what the white noise is, but I get it, everybody is up in arms,” Treliving said Wednesday. “When you don’t perform, there are consequences. Everyone should be taking shots at you. Enough of the preaching, it all comes down to actions, not sucking your thumb and…moaning. Our players have got to be better, all of us have to be better. It’s easy to point fingers. That doesn’t help us get to where we need to be.”
Treliving wants his Flames to be “hard to play against,” something Sutter will be tasked with achieving right away. But the immediate announcement of a contract suggests a long-term approach, a restructuring in team identity that begins with a known presence at the helm and hopefully new fire on the ice.