Joel Ward (ice hockey)

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Joel Ward
Joel Ward 2016.jpg
Ward with the San Jose Sharks in 2016
Born (1980-12-02) December 2, 1980 (age 35)
North York, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
San Jose Sharks
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
Washington Capitals
National team  Canada
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2005–present

Joel Randal Ward (born December 2, 1980) is a Canadian professional ice hockey right winger currently playing for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Unselected in any NHL Entry Draft, Ward has also previously played in the NHL for the Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals.

Early life[edit]

Ward was born in North York, Ontario, (borough of Toronto) to Cecilia, who worked as a nurse, and the late Randal Ward, who worked as an auto-mechanic.[1] Both of his parents are immigrants from Barbados. Joel Ward also has two brothers, Shane and Julian. Julian goes by the nickname "Caesar" and was an accomplished minor hockey player growing up. Both Joel and Caesar are very active in fantasy sports pools, including hockey, basketball, football and baseball. Joel graduated from Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute, located in Scarborough, Ontario, in 1998.

Playing career[edit]

Amateur[edit]

Undrafted, Ward played in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Owen Sound Platers. After completing his four-year junior career and his final year of eligibility with the Platers in 2000–01, Ward linked up with lower tier professional team the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the West Coast Hockey League to end the season. An unsigned free agent to start the 2001–02 season, Ward attended the Detroit Red Wings' training camp on a try-out basis, but was ultimately recruited and played collegiately for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers of the CIS.

Professional[edit]

Ward playing for the Predators in 2010

Awarded Rookie of the Year and the Panthers' three-time MVP while earning a degree in sociology in his four-year collegiate career,[2] Ward was invited to the Minnesota Wild's training camp in 2006. In his first full professional season, he was assigned to the Wild's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Houston Aeros, signing his first professional contract for the entirety of the 2005–06 season.

After impressing Wild management with his work ethic, Ward earned a two-year contract with Minnesota on September 27, 2006.[3] He debuted in 11 NHL games with the Wild during the 2006–07 season, but spent his time primarily with the Aeros, developing into a responsible, two-way player and improving his points totals in each of his three years.

On July 15, 2008, Ward signed as a free agent to a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators.[4] He made the opening night roster out of training camp for the 2008–09 season and scored his first NHL goal in his first game as a Predator against the St. Louis Blues on October 10, 2008.[5]

In 2008–09, his first full NHL season, he scored 17 goals in 79 games, and his reliability as a defensive forward and success as a utility scoring forward earned him a two-year contract extension on July 1, 2009.[6][7]

With the Capitals in 2013

Ward became an unrestricted free agent after the 2010–11 season and subsequently signed a four-year, $12 million contract with the Washington Capitals on July 1, 2011.[8] On April 25, 2012, Ward scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 7 of the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Boston Bruins, advancing Washington to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

Ward's fortune would not continue into Washington's series with the New York Rangers. With the series tied at two games apiece, Ward took a high-sticking double minor penalty on Carl Hagelin with 22 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 5, with Washington leading 2–1. Rangers forward Brad Richards tied the game with under ten seconds remaining, and defenceman Marc Staal scored in overtime with the Rangers still on the powerplay as a result of Ward's penalty; the Rangers took a 3–2 series lead. After the Capitals exit at the hands of the Rangers, he required surgery for a sports hernia .

On November 1, 2013, in his 336th career game, Ward scored his first career hat-trick, coming against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 7–0 Washington victory.

In 2014, Ward was selected to represent Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship.[9] He started on the team's checking fourth line, but finished as one of the team's top scorers.[10]

On July 3, 2015, Ward, as an unrestricted free agent, signed a three-year, $9.75 million contract with the San Jose Sharks.[11]

As the Sharks prepared to play in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ward spoke to ESPN, stating that the NHL's first player of color, retired fellow right winger Willie O'Ree, should have his player number 22 retired by the NHL league-wide, just as Jackie Robinson, the first player of color in Major League Baseball has been honored - and whom O'Ree had met in person in his own younger years[12] - by having his own player number 42 retired league-wide.[13]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1997–98 Owen Sound Platers OHL 47 8 4 12 14 11 1 1 2 5
1998–99 Owen Sound Platers OHL 58 19 16 35 23 16 2 4 6 0
1999–00 Owen Sound Platers OHL 63 23 20 43 51
2000–01 Owen Sound Attack OHL 67 26 36 62 45 5 2 4 6 4
2000–01 Long Beach Ice Dogs WCHL 8 0 0 0 0
2001–02 U. of Prince Edward Island CIS 22 13 14 27 16
2002–03 U. of Prince Edward Island CIS 19 11 15 26 24
2003–04 U. of Prince Edward Island CIS 27 14 24 38 42
2004–05 U. of Prince Edward Island CIS 28 16 28 44 42
2005–06 Houston Aeros AHL 66 8 14 22 34 8 4 2 6 4
2006–07 Houston Aeros AHL 64 9 14 23 45
2006–07 Minnesota Wild NHL 11 0 1 1 0
2007–08 Houston Aeros AHL 79 21 20 41 47 4 0 2 2 0
2008–09 Nashville Predators NHL 79 17 18 35 29
2009–10 Nashville Predators NHL 71 13 21 34 18 6 2 2 4 2
2010–11 Nashville Predators NHL 80 10 19 29 42 12 7 6 13 6
2011–12 Washington Capitals NHL 73 6 12 18 20 14 1 4 5 6
2012–13 Washington Capitals NHL 39 8 12 20 12 7 1 3 4 6
2013–14 Washington Capitals NHL 82 24 25 49 32
2014–15 Washington Capitals NHL 82 19 15 34 30 14 3 6 9 2
2015–16 San Jose Sharks NHL 79 21 22 43 28 24 7 6 13 16
NHL totals 596 118 145 220 226 77 21 27 48 38

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2014 Canada WC 5th 8 6 3 9 4
Senior totals 8 6 3 9 4

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Best, Tony (November 18, 2011). "Cool US$12m hockey deal". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Right Wing trio adds to NHL's expanding diversity". NHL. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Wild signs RW Joel Ward". Minnesota Wild. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  4. ^ "Predators sign Free-Agent forward Joel Ward". Nashville Predators. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Tkachuk nets two power play goals, Blues drop Predators in opener". CBS Sports. 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward stay the cours". The Tennessean. 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2009-07-02. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Trotz excited to have Ward back in the mix". Nashville Predators. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  8. ^ "NHL Free Agent Tracker". The Sports Network. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Carrera, Katie (2014-05-08). "Alex Ovechkin, Joel Ward, Mikhail Grabovski among nine Caps to play in world championships". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  10. ^ "Joel Ward playing leading role for Canada at world championship". CBC Sports. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  11. ^ "Ward signs three-year contract with Sharks". NHL. July 3, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  12. ^ Steve Murphy, interviewer with CTV News in Halifax, NS (2007). Willie O'Ree - First Black NHL Player (YouTube). heathernocs. Event occurs at 4:31. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ Douglas, William (May 30, 2016). "Joel Ward thinks the NHL should honor Willie O'Ree by retiring his number". colorofhockey.com. The Color of Hockey. Retrieved May 31, 2016. Joel Ward has an idea for the National Hockey League to honor the history and growing impact of black players in the sport: Retire the number 22 Willie O’Ree wore with the Boston Bruins when he became the league’s first black player in 1958.“I definitely think Willie should be recognized for sure,” Ward told ESPN Sunday, the media day before his San Jose Sharks face the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “It’s a no-brainer. Without Willie, it would be tough for me to be sitting here today. I definitely think Willie should be a big part of this.” 

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