BUFFALO – The Sabres removed the interim tag from Ted Nolan today, signing the coach to a reported three-year contract extension.
While the rebuilding club is 16-30-8 under Nolan, the culture around the Sabres has changed dramatically. Nolan’s straightforward approach has connected with many players, most notably center Tyler Ennis and winger Drew Stafford, who have been thriving in recent months.
“We are very happy to get this deal done and have Ted Nolan as our permanent head coach going forward,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “Teddy has proven time and again that he is an exceptional leader, motivator and teacher. He is exactly what we need in a head coach for our hockey team and we’re confident in his ability to guide our players and turn this team around.”
Nolan re-joined the Sabres Nov. 13, replacing Ron Rolston. He previously coached the Sabres two seasons, winning the 1996-97 Jack Adams Award for top coach before only being offered a one-year contract extension.
“I said back in November that it was a dream to be able to come back and coach the Sabres and that’s still true today,” Nolan said in a statement. “Hockey is my life and Buffalo is a special place for hockey. I’m excited by the challenge facing our team and our organization and I’m truly thankful to have this opportunity.”
After Pat LaFontaine, who re-hired the popular Nolan, resigned as president of hockey operations earlier this month, it appeared Nolan might follow him. But Nolan said in recent weeks his contract was being worked out and he wanted to stay.
Murray and Nolan plan to address the media later today.