On March 16, the Tewaaraton Lacrosse League (TLL) announced that Ted Nolan is the third member of the Leadership Circle of Excellence.
The Leadership Circle of Excellence will bring together a high-calibre group of individuals who each bring their own unique talents, special skills, experiences, and expertise that, when combined, offer unparalleled insights to help support the ultimate success of the league.
The mandate of the Leadership Circle is to provide advice, insight, and ambassadorship.
Nolan joins Garrett Ball and Claudia Jimerson as part of this crucial component to the TLL.
Nolan brings a large variety of assets to the TLL table that will help not only shape the major junior lacrosse league, but will assist in carving out our foundation, and help mentor our high calibre athletes on and off the playing surface.
“I am very happy to be part of this new lacrosse league and the Leadership Circle of Excellence,” Nolan said. “What this league stands for aligns with the same messaging myself and the 3NOLANS are about. Knowing the people behind the scenes and knowing what they are about, and how they go about business and sports is a big reason I want to be part of this.”
On the ice, Nolan grew up on the Garden River First Nation, and played minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie. He left home at the age of 16 to play junior hockey in Kenora, before returning to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League from 1976 to 1978. His passion, skill, and grit captured the attention of the Detroit Red Wings, who drafted him in 1978. After a brief stint in the Red Wings organization, which saw him raise the Calder Cup championship with the Adirondack Red Wings, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He appeared in 78 NHL games before having his career cut short by a serious back injury at the age of 26.
Forced to retire, Nolan later landed his first coaching job in 1989 with the Greyhounds. After some tough seasons of not making the playoffs, Nolan was the head coach that led the team to three-straight Memorial Cup appearances, winning the national major junior A hockey title in 1993.
A year after winning the Memorial Cup, Nolan jumped to the NHL, as an assistant coach for the Hartford Whalers. After one season with the Whalers, Nolan became the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres (1995-1997 and 2013-2015) and the New York Islanders (2006-2008). During the 1996-1997 season, the Sabres won its first Northeast Division title, and he earned the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year. Nolan also coached the Latvian Men’s National Team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Away from the ice, Nolan established the Ted Nolan Foundation in 2004 as a way to give back to First Nation youth and to First Nation women across Canada. Since then, the Ted Nolan Foundation has provided over 250 scholarships to First Nation women across Canada. Those scholarships have seen over $250,000 awarded, but more importantly, have seen a graduation rate over 70% since 2010 for scholarship recipients.
In 2013, Nolan, along with his two sons Brandon and Jordan, co-created the 3NOLANS First Nation Hockey School as a way to inspire and help change the lives of First Nation youth across Canada. The 3NOLANS First Nation Hockey School is a four-day skills development hockey camp for boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 15 years. The 3NOLANS developed a program that will work with First Nation youth to further develop their hockey skills and knowledge, while also teaching them the importance of being positive role models and leaders within their communities.
“The TLL is honoured to have Ted Nolan as a member of our Circle of Excellence,” founding member Vince Hunt said. “Ted’s exemplary career playing and coaching at the highest levels of hockey as well as his groundbreaking work with his sons Brandon and Jordan (3NOLANS) will be invaluable as the TLL attempts to build out a league based on collaboration, education and inclusion.”