Ted Nolan has been a coaching success at every level of professional and amateur hockey, having reached the pinnacle when he was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year for his work with the Buffalo Sabres in 1996-97. Nolan is noted for his ability to motivate and teach and he has a knack for drawing the most from the talent available on his teams.
After an 8-year absence from competitive coaching, Nolan returned this season with a sterling debut as head coach and director of hockey operations for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He introduced 14 new players to the team, and led Moncton to its first-ever President Cup as QMJHL champion, finishing first overall in the regular season at 52-15-0-2. The Wildcats advanced to the finals of the Memorial Cup (Canadian Junior Championships) where they finished runner-up to Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts.
Born on the Garden River First Nation Reserve just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Nolan is a member of the First Nations Ojibway tribe. Following his time in Buffalo, Nolan, 48, 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.
He became head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 1988, as a mid-season replacement and coached there until the end of the 1994 season. Nolan led the Greyhounds to three consecutive Memorial Cup tournament berths, winning the Canadian national junior championship in 1993.
He was hired before the 1994 regular season as an assistant coach by the Hartford Whalers for one season before accepting the position of head coach of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres where he had his best success. In his second season in Buffalo, he led the team to a strong regular season, culminating in the Northeast Division title. He was rewarded with the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach.
As a player, he skated for the Ontario Hockey Association's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, the Kansas City Red Wings of the Central Hockey League, and the Adirondack Red Wings, Rochester Americans and Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League. He also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League from the early through to the mid-1980s.
Ted and his wife Sandra are parents of Brandon, a 2003 4th round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks; and Jordan, a member of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League.