Paul Jerrard, a longtime assistant coach in the NHL, AHL, and college hockey, died Wednesday at age 57 after a long fight with cancer, the NCAA’s Omaha Mavericks said Thursday.
Jerrard was an assistant coach for Glen Gulutzan with the Dallas Stars from 2011 to 2013 and with the Calgary Flames from 2016 to 2018. During the 2002–03 season, he also worked for the Colorado Avalanche.
At the time of his death, Jerrard was working as an assistant coach for the Mavericks under Mike Gabinet, who played for Jerrard with the AHL’s Iowa Stars in 2005–06. Gabinet said something Thursday through the Mavericks.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of assistant coach, Paul Jerrard. Paul had been quietly fighting a long-term battle with cancer. Our program will be forever indebted to PJ for his countless positive impact,” Gabinet said.
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“PJ attacked each day with a team-first attitude, vibrant enthusiasm, and an unmatched willingness to help grow and develop our young men. Knowing PJ first as my coach in pro hockey, and now having had the chance to work alongside him each day, I am beyond grateful for the lessons he shared and the loyal friendship we forged.”
During the 1988–1989 NHL season, Jerrard played defense for the Minnesota North Stars in five games. After his team, the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup in 1997, Jerrard quit playing to become a coach.
Jerrard was an assistant coach for more than 25 years. He worked for two NCAA teams, six AHL teams, and three NHL teams. He is still one of the few Black hockey coaches who work at a high level. He was the only Black coach in the NHL while he was with the Flames.
Paul Jerrard, who during his time with the Calgary Flames from 2016-18 was the only Black assistant coach in the NHL, has died at 57. Jerrard was remembered by @NHLCoachesAssoc and others around him for being an incredible coach and a better person. https://t.co/QOYNLizYDe
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 16, 2023
Jerrard joined the Mavericks in 2018 after being fired by the Flames. He worked for the team for a total of five years before he died. His wife, Cheryl, and their two daughters will miss him.
Paul Jerrard will be remembered as a beloved figure in the hockey world, and his family, friends, and coworkers will miss him very much.