Ted Nolan played eight seasons of professional hockey from 1978 – 1986 primarily spent in the American Hockey League (AHL) where he was a member of the 1980-81 Adirondack Red Wings Calder Cup Championship team. He also amassed 78 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) between Detroit and Pittsburgh. Throughout his playing career, Nolan took an active role in the PHPA, first serving as a PHPA Player Representative and later as an elected member of the PHPA Player Executive Committee. As a member of the Executive, Nolan successfully fought for increases to per-diem, safer working conditions, and helped initiate discussion towards enhancements to the off-ice insurance program for players and their families.
Shortly after his retirement as a player, Nolan became head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and led them to three consecutive Memorial Cup tournament berths, winning the championship in 1993. He was hired by the Hartford Whalers in 1994 as an assistant coach before accepting the position of head coach with the Buffalo Sabres in 1995 where he was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL Coach of the Year in 1997. Nolan returned to the NHL in 2006 as Head Coach of the New York Islanders until 2009, and is currently the Interim Head Coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Nolan has devoted himself to First Nations causes, including teaching hockey to First Nations children. His work in this area earned him the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Sault Ste. Marie Medal of Merit, and the Order of Ontario.
“Having played against Ted in the AHL, there was no doubt he was a formidable opponent on the ice,” said PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon. “However, it was working alongside him as a member of the PHPA Executive Committee where I realized he brought the same characteristics to negotiations with management. He was a key contributor who wanted to take the PHPA to new heights, while advancing and protecting the rights of all players in professional hockey’s minor leagues.”
“I am honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Curt Leichner Distinguished Member Award,” said Ted Nolan. “The PHPA award recognizes the importance of collaboration amongst all parties involved in what I feel is the greatest game in the world - the game of hockey. I have had the privilege to grow personally and professionally, both playing and coaching in this great game of ours. This game has given me an opportunity to work in a profession that I have a passion for and for this I feel privileged. So it is with this that I say thank you for the PHPA Curt Leichner Distinguished Member Award. It is an honor to be recognized.”