“[Ted] Nolan forges ahead as ‘interim’ label vanishes,” is what was tweeted on the Buffalo Sabres Twitter page Monday afternoon.
Nolan, Ojibwe, was named head coach of the Buffalo Sabres today after serving as the club’s interim head coach since mid-November. He signed a three-year contract extension, a source told the Associated Press.
“I said back in November that it was a dream to be able to come back and coach the Sabres and that’s still true today,” Nolan said in a news release. “Hockey is my life and Buffalo is a special place for hockey. I’m excited by the challenge facing our team and our organization and I’m truly thankful to have this opportunity.”
“We are very happy to get this deal done and have Ted Nolan as our permanent head coach going forward,” Murray said. “Teddy has proven time and again that he is an exceptional leader, motivator and teacher. He is exactly what we need in a head coach for our hockey team and we’re confident in his ability to guide our players and turn this team around.”
Nolan coached the Sabres for two seasons in 1995-1997 compiling a 73-72-19 record. He later served as head coach of the New York Islanders for two seasons, leading them to the playoffs.
Recently, Nolan coached Team Latvia in the Olympic games, where they upset Switzerland, 3-1 and took on Canada, to whom they lost in the quarterfinals.
Nolan is one of two Native coaches – Craig Berube is head coach of the Flyers — in the NHL. Last season, when Berube and Nolan’s teams played against each other, it was the first time two native coaches had faced off in the NHL.
"It's huge," Nolan told the Philadelphia Daily News about the historic match up. "The significance of it is not really what it means to me, or Craig Berube, but what it means when you think of what our ancestors went through."