Paul Jerrard, one of many few Black assistant coaches within the NHL throughout his three stints within the league over the previous 20 years, has died, the College of Nebraska-Omaha introduced Thursday. He was 57.
An athletic division spokesperson stated Jerrard’s spouse knowledgeable the varsity he died Wednesday at a hospital in Omaha. Jerrard spent the previous 5 seasons on Omaha coach Mike Gabinet’s employees.
Jerrard spent two seasons as an assistant with the NHL’s Calgary Flames from 2016 to ’18 and with the Dallas Stars from 2011 to ’13 and one with the Colorado Avalanche in 2002-03. Throughout his time with the Flames, Jerrard was the one Black assistant coach within the league.
There are presently solely two Black assistants within the NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltending coach Frantz Jean and video coach Nigel Kirwan.
Flames common supervisor Brad Treliving, who crossed paths with Jerrard after they have been enjoying within the minors and employed him to educate below Glen Gulutzan in 2016, referred to as the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native a real individual and an important listener whose consideration to cultivating private relationships confirmed by in his work.
“He was compassionate; he was agency when he wanted to be,” Treliving stated by telephone Thursday. “(Gulutzan) talked about his skill to show, his skill to attach with gamers. Gamers trusted him, and you may see it.”
In between his NHL jobs, Jerrard was an assistant for Hershey, Iowa, Texas and Utica within the American Hockey League and earlier than that labored for Lowell of the AHL and at Lake Superior State College, the place he performed from 1983 to ’87.
Drafted within the ninth spherical by the New York Rangers in 1983, Jerrard spent most of his enjoying profession as a defenseman within the minors. He performed in 5 NHL video games with the Minnesota North Stars through the 1988-89 season and instantly went into teaching after hanging up his skates.
Gabinet, in an announcement launched by the Omaha athletics division, stated Jerrard had “quietly been combating a long-term battle with most cancers.”
“Our program can be ceaselessly indebted to P.J. for his numerous constructive impression,” stated Gabinet, who knew Jerrard since enjoying for him with Iowa of the AHL in 2005-06. “P.J. attacked every day with a team-first angle, vibrant enthusiasm, and an unmatched willingness to assist develop and develop our younger males. … There have been no small jobs for P.J., and he by no means had a foul day. He made the individuals round him higher, and we’ll ceaselessly miss his presence in our locker room and lives.”
Jerrard was an lively member of the NHL Coaches’ Affiliation BIPOC Coaches Program. The coaches’ affiliation, in an announcement despatched by president Lindsay Pennal, referred to as Jerrard an unbelievable coach and an excellent higher human being.
“His dedication to the game and serving to his gamers and everybody round him enhance was unmatched,” the NHLCA stated. “Paul generously dedicated his time to mentoring the youthful coaches in our program, sharing recommendation and knowledge from his in depth hockey profession.”
Throughout a 2018 interview with The Related Press about extra minority illustration amongst coaches and officers in hockey, Jerrard stated he hoped youngsters seeing extra individuals of colour on the ice enjoying or officiating or behind the bench teaching exhibits that “in the event that they’re expert, pushed and passionate, there’s a possibility for them.”
“I am simply one other coach who’s making an attempt to do a great job within the league and keep within the league,” Jerrard stated on the time. “I suppose I’m now in a little bit little bit of a place of a task mannequin, however my drive to be a task mannequin is not because of the colour of my pores and skin. It is simply the best way I wished to hold myself as a human being, the best way I need to be checked out: doing the best factor and dealing laborious.”