Taylor Ward has played and coached for junior hockey teams from New Mexico to Pennsylvania; after his first experience as a head coach last winter, Ward will join the Waterloo Black Hawks as an assistant for the 2019/20 season, the team announced Tuesday.
In 2018/19, Ward led the York, Pennsylvania-based Skipjacks Hockey Club premier team to a 29-11-2 regular season record. It was the 28-year-old’s first opportunity as a head coach in a young career which has already included an array of experiences. Ward previously spent one year as an assistant with the Sioux City Musketeers, and has been on staff for the Coulee Region Chill of the North American Hockey League and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women’s hockey program.
“Taylor has worked with a broad group of athletes in just a few years as a coach,” said Black Hawks Head Coach and General Manager P.K. O’Handley. “We were glad to bring him to Waterloo, because he has already done a little of everything. He’s a young man who can help us get to where we want to be at the same time we help him build an already impressive coaching resume.”
Ward and O’Handley are both former players from Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In 2012/13, Ward was a freshman for the Blugolds squad which won the NCAA Division III men’s hockey national championship. Prior to that experience, he skated in the NAHL for the Amarillo Bulls and New Mexico Mustangs.
While looking ahead to his new opportunity in Waterloo, Ward expressed his appreciation for his time with the Skipjacks’ organization.
“My experience with the Skipjacks was invaluable. They leave no stone unturned in the development of young hockey players, which is why they are one of the best programs in the country. I will miss the people I met and the relationships I established there,” Ward said.
“I would like to thank the Black Hawks ownership and P.K. O’Handley for this opportunity. The fans and their passion for our team success is unmatched in the USHL, and I can’t wait to see it at Young Arena. I’m excited to assist our staff in the development of our athletes and give them a path that allows both personal growth and team success. I am excited to be a part of the Black Hawks family.”
Ward will work with Waterloo defensemen, a group which contributed significantly to the Black Hawks tying for the fourth-fewest goals against count (173) in the USHL last season. He will also play a substantial role in the team’s video coaching and video scouting efforts, while making contributions in all facets of the organization’s hockey operations.
The Black Hawks’ first game of 2019/20 is September 26th against the Tri-City Storm.