Ted Nolan was born into a large family on the Garden River First Nation in northern Ontario in 1958. The 3rd youngest of twelve children, in a house lacking electricity and plumbing, Ted learned resilience from his parents Stan and Rose. From his mother, he received pride in his heritage and that helped him become the strong man that he is today. He also learned to follow his dreams, not matter how big or small. Today, Ted believes that pride, strength, and a willingness to dream are the cornerstones of success.
Ted grew up playing minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie and left home at the age of 16 to go play junior hockey in Kenora, Ontario. A year after leaving home to play in Kenora, Ted returned to play for his hometown Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League from 1976 to 1978. Ted played the game with so much passion, a ton of grit, and a little bit of skill, and it was these attributes that saw him get drafted into the NHL in 1978 by the Detroit Red Wings. After a brief stint in the Red Wings organization, which saw him raise the Calder Cup Championship with their minor league affiliate, Ted was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins appearing in 78 NHL games before having his career cut short by a serious back injury at the age of 26.
After being forced to retire at the age of 26, Ted knew that he wanted to stay involved in hockey, and it was his first coaching job with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL that helped launch his coaching career. Ted began his new career coaching the Greyhounds of the OHL and took his team to 3 straight Memorial Cup appearances, eventually winning the Memorial Cup Championship in 1993. In 1994, Ted moved on to the professional ranks as an assistant coach of the NHL’s Hartford Whalers. In 1995 he was named the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and in just two short years, took his team to 1st place in the Northeast Division and was named NHL Coach of the Year.
Ted would also go on to coach the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and in just one year with the team, led them to the league championship while also being named General Manager of the Year. He returned to the NHL to coach the New York Islanders and in 2013 he made his second appearance coaching the Buffalo Sabres. Ted also has international coaching experience, leading the Latvian Men’s National Ice Hockey Team to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, almost upsetting Team Canada in the quarter finals.
Ted always says, “hockey is what I do, it is not who I am”. Ted is so grateful for the opportunities hockey has created in his life, and most importantly, the opportunity it has created for him to become a positive role model and inspiration for First Nations people all across Canada. With his wife Sandra and two sons Brandon and Jordan, he dreams of Aboriginal self-sufficiency and a day when First Nations will take their rightful place in Canada.
This year, the Matawa Education Department is pleased to be hosting our annual conference in partnership with Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) Education, that work with six First Nation schools in the Northwest. Teachers from Matawa and KO schools will engage in workshops together, providing opportunities for them to create new connections, and share their successes and their learning.View Date & Place