Flames hire Hartley, Ward poised to return to Heat

There was much speculation that Abbotsford Heat bench boss Troy Ward would be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames.

There was much speculation that Abbotsford Heat bench boss Troy Ward would be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames, but the Heat’s NHL parent club elected to go with Bob Hartley.

The Flames announced Thursday that they had hired Hartley, the former Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers head coach who was most recently at the helm of Switzerland’s ZSC Lions. Hartley and Calgary GM Jay Feaster previously worked together with the AHL’s Hershey Bears and won a Calder Cup in 1997.

The Hartley hiring paves the way for Ward to return to Abbotsford, where he guided the Heat to a franchise-record 42 regular season wins and a trip to the second round of the playoffs in 2011-12.