Should the Carolina Hurricanes look to add their former star goaltender Cam Ward to their coaching staff?
Some of the younger readers and newer fans may not remember Cam Ward, so please allow me to enlighten you about one of the bright spots from a dark time for this Carolina Hurricanes franchise before we debate adding him to the coaching staff.
In 2002, Carolina drafted a young netminder from Sherwood Park, Alberta 25th overall. His name was Cam Ward. In his rookie season with the Carolina Hurricanes, he would step into the crease in game 2 against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2005-06 playoffs, when all seemed lost, and gave the Canes a change. He won his first 4 playoff starts en route to winning a Conn Smythe, and the Stanley Cup.
Over 14 years in the NHL, Ward ranks 23rd all time in wins, with 334. He recorded a career .908 save percentage, 2.74 goals against average. He stopped 18259 shots throughout his career. He is the Hurricanes all time franchise leader in wins, shutouts and saves amongst a host of other categories.
So why would it be such a bad thing to add Cameron Kenneth Ward to the coaching staff, you might ask? The reason is simple. The same reason he is no longer a Carolina Hurricane is the same reason that the Carolina Hurricanes have had success over the past year and 8 games. His stats weren’t great. People may be sceptical to add a player who was public viewed as the reason for the teams downfall.
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As someone who has met Cammy on a couple of occasions, I’d like to outline that what he did on the ice doesn’t mean he will not be a good coach. Wayne Gretzky is the greatest NHL player of all time, but he didn’t have a great spell with the Coyotes as a coach. What you do in the locker room and behind the bench is very different to what you do as a player.
If you ask any team mate of Cam Ward, whether it be someone like Hall of Famer Mark Recchi, or someone who struggled to stay in the NHL like Greg McKegg, they will tell you that Cam Ward is a great person above all else. For all of his struggles, on a bad team, with what happened in his personal life, he never once complained, he never once was unhappy. He is a great guy who enjoyed the great sport of hockey.
With all this said, there’s a genuine argument for Ward to be in the Hall of Fame, despite not exactly having the highest talent level. There is a case to be made that Carolina’s number 30 should never be worn on the ice again, and it hasn’t been worn by anyone since Ward left the Canes via free agency in at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Question for Cardiac Cane Readers – Do you think the Carolina Hurricanes should add Cam Ward to the coaching staff, or do you think they should keep with what’s been working? Do you think that Ward’s number “30” should be up in the rafters with 2, 10 and 17?