Hockey briefs – July 1

The Calgary Flames have named Troy Ward as head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate.

Flames name Heat coach

CALGARY — The Calgary Flames have named Troy Ward as head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate.

Ward will take charge of the Abbotsford Heat after serving as an assistant coach on the team last season. He spent three years with the AHL’s Houston Aeros prior to joining the Flames organization in 2010.

Flames general manager Jay Feaster said Ward was selected by a panel that included himself, head coach Brent Sutter, former player and special assistant Craig Conroy, scout Ron Sutter and assistant GM Michael Holditch.

“We were unanimous in our decision that Troy was the right person to lead our revamped development efforts in Abbotsford,” Feaster said Thursday in a release.

“As an organization we are committed to teaching and developing our players in a nurturing, positive, winning environment that will speed their progression to Calgary and the NHL, and we are confident that Troy is the right head coach to help us achieve our goals.”

Ward was named the ECHL’s coach of the year for the 2000-01 season when he led Trenton to the Kelly Cup Finals with a 50-18-4 record.

He served as assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons, from 1997-2000.


Avs to retire Forsberg’s 21

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche will retire Peter Forsberg’s number before the season opener on Oct. 8 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Forsberg’s number (21) will join those of Patrick Roy (33), Joe Sakic (19) and Ray Bourque (77) in the rafters at Pepsi Center.

The former NHL MVP attempted a comeback with the Avalanche over the winter, but pulled the plug on his career after a two-game audition because of a chronic foot ailment.

Forsberg was one of the best two-way players in the NHL during his prime, helping the Avalanche to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001. A foot injury that’s hampered him since 2003 robbed him of chunks of his career.


Graham James trial delayed

WINNIPEG — The case of a former junior hockey coach and convicted sex offender has been adjourned for another three weeks in a Winnipeg docket court.

The Crown and defence continue discussions and the next court date is set for July 22.

Graham James was charged seven months ago with nine charges that date back to 1979 and include sexual exploitation, sexual assault and gross indecency.

Former NHL star Theo Fleury is one of three complainants.

James has been out on bail since December and is living in the Montreal area.

He served almost two years in jail in the late 1990s for assaulting three young hockey players, including Sheldon Kennedy, another former NHL player.