Flames fire coach Geoff Ward, replace him with Darryl Sutter

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Calgary Flames head coach Geoff Ward gives instruction during a training camp practice in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The Calgary Flames fired coach Geoff Ward on Thursday night and replaced him with Darryl Sutter, who will lead the team for the second time.

The Flames announced the moves shortly after Ward coached the Flames to a 7-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Calgary went 11-11-2 under Ward this season.

Ward became the interim coach when Bill Peters resigned in November 2019 following an investigation by the team into allegations of racism and assault by Peters in the minor leagues several years earlier. Ward was formally named the coach in September 2020.

Ward went 35-26-5 in 66 games with the Flames, who beat Winnipeg in a in a best-of-five qualifying series last summer but lost to Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.

It marks the second coaching change in the NHL this season. Montreal fired Claude Julien last week and replaced him with Dominique Ducharme.

The 62-year-old Sutter coached the Flames from 2002-06, winning 107 games and making two playoff appearances in three seasons. He led Calgary to the Stanley Cup final in 2004, when the Flames lost to Tampa Bay in seven games. Sutter also served as the team’s general manager from 2003-10.

Sutter, who has also coached Chicago, San Jose, Calgary and Los Angeles, won Stanley Cup titles with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.

He had been an adviser to Anaheim’s coaching staff since July 2019. Sutter will now be in charge of a Flames squad that sits two points behind the Canadiens for fourth place in the North Division.

He’s also the fourth Flames coach in the last five years, following Ward, Peters and Glen Gulutzan.

Sutter went 107-73-15-15 in his last stint with the Flames, and is 635-467-101-82 in 18 seasons as an NHL coach — including 14 playoff appearances and the two Stanley Cup victories.

Sutter played eight NHL seasons — all with Chicago — before beginning his coaching career. He had 161 goals and 118 assists in 406 regular-season games from 1979-87, and had 43 points in 51 postseason games.

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