The Vegas Golden Knights have made some changes to their coaching staff.
Yesterday the team announced that Joel Ward, who had served as an assistant for the team’s AHL affiliate in Henderson, and Dominique Ducharme, the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 season, had joined Bruce Cassidy’s staff. The two replace Misha Donskov, whose next job is unknown, and Ryan Craig who has become the new head coach of the Henderson Silver Knights.
Ward, 42, remains with the organization after previously serving as an assistant coach with the Henderson Silver Knights of the AHL since the team’s first season in 2020-21. The Silver Knights reached postseason play during each of their first two seasons with Ward behind the bench. After going undrafted, the North York, ON native spent 11 seasons playing in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild (2006-07), Nashville Predators (2008-11), Washington Capitals (2011-15) and San Jose Sharks (2015-18).
As for Ducharme:
Before his time in Montreal and the NHL, Ducharme was head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads (2011-16) and Drummondville Voltigeurs (2016-18). The Mooseheads won the 2013 Memorial Cup under Ducharme’s leadership during his second season as head coach. At the international level, he was Canada’s head coach for the 2017 and 2018 World Junior Championship, winning silver and gold, respectively.
He also played hockey in the NCAA for the University of Vermont, and played professional in the AHL, ECHL, and QSPHL.
The promotion is a well-deserved one for Ward who has done some nice work for the organization in Henderson, and Ducharme is getting another chance in the NHL in a reduced role after having done well coaching in the QMJHL.