Phantoms announce new head coach Ryan Ward | News, Sports, Jobs

YOUNGSTOWN – The Youngstown Phantoms announced on Tuesday that Ryan Ward will take over as head coach for the upcoming season.

Ward has been around the hockey world since 2008, starting as a video coach for the New York Islanders.

He has since made multiple stints, spending time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Soo Greyhounds (Ontario Hockey League), San Antonio Rampage (American Hockey League), and most recently with Tri-City Storm and their youth program Windy City Storm.

Over the years, his paths crossed with Phantoms co-GMs Jason Deskins and Ryan Kosecki, making that transition much easier.

“Jason Deskins, Ryan Kosecki and I coached against each other for a while” said Ward. “Being on the same page as these guys has been great. … Being on the same page as we’re going to play and develop players, and of course, pushing these guys to achieve their long-term goals as players and as people, it all kind of fell into place and couldn’t have worked better.”

Ward, a Bowling Green graduate, will be returning to Ohio.

From all his positions over the years, Ward has embraced a philosophy of learning, then taking what you learn and adapting it.

Working with the likes of now-Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe and former Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen has broadened Ward’s philosophy.

Expect the Phantoms to do a little bit of everything on the ice this season.

“I firmly believe that one plus one is three.” said Ward. “You take what you like from the people you work with, learn from it, and incorporate it into your own philosophy. I think how we’re going to play at Youngstown will be a little bit of everything from the guys I’ve worked with and the people I’ve learned from.”

Ward went on to say that the Phantoms would play a higher paced game that would focus more on leaving the defensive zone and possession of the puck.

“We’re going to be a team that’s open, that defends hard, that wins transitions from offense to defense and from defense to offense.” said Ward. “We will be a team that always comes out. I think the biggest thing for me is that everyone will be involved in our attacks. We’re going to try to own the puck, we’re going to play tight, and we’re going to play a style of hockey that I think our players will love and everyone will benefit from. It’s going to be a very fast and competitive style.”

The Phantoms also announced that associate head coach Andy Contois and assistant coach Brandon Gotkin’s contracts have been extended through the 2024-2025 season.

“Renewing Andy and Brandon’s contracts was a priority for us and our program,” Hockey Operations President Keith Primeau said in a press release. “They have done a tremendous job of guiding and developing our players and are an important part of the future of the Phantoms.

“They are well respected within our ownership group and management team, and we couldn’t be happier that they will be part of the program leadership as we rise through the ranks of junior hockey and the USHL. These signings, along with Ryans, bring long-term stability to our program and we can’t wait to get started.”

The Phantoms and former coach Brad Patterson decided to part ways with Patterson at the end.

Patterson has been part of the Phantoms as an assistant coach since the 2009-10 season and was promoted to head coach for the 2016-17 season.

He ends his tenure with the Phantoms as the all-time leader in games coached and won and had a final regular-season record of 164-136-43.

“I want to thank Brad for everything he has done to organize the Youngstown Phantoms,” Phantoms President Andrew Goldman said in a press release. “He was the consummate professional and produced elite hockey players and, more importantly, incredible young men.

“The Phantoms are in fantastic form for the next year and beyond, and much of that is thanks to Brad’s years of tireless dedication to the team and its players.”

Phantoms Camp begins in July at Pittsburgh’s PrintScape Arena.

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