UNO adds former NHL assistant Paul Jerrard to coaching staff

Paul Jerrard spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Calgary Flames.

UNO’s hockey staff is back at full strength.

Longtime professional assistant Paul Jerrard, who has spent the past two seasons with Calgary in the NHL, will fill the spot that has been vacant for two months after Peter Mannino departed for Miami.

Jerrard has 21 years of coaching experience, nearly all of which has come in either the NHL or AHL. In addition to his recent position with Calgary, where he was in charge of the Flames’ defense and worked with its special teams, he had also been an assistant coach in Dallas for two years and Colorado for one.

The former defenseman played collegiately at Lake Superior State and was later an assistant there.

“(Paul has) a very good track record of developing players,” UNO coach Mike Gabinet said in a press release. “It continues with my philosophy of wanting to be one of the best staffs in the country at getting our players better.”

Gabinet has known Jerrard for quite a while. In fact, Jerrard was an assistant for the AHL’s Iowa Stars for the 2005-06 season when Gabinet played for them during his second professional year.

“I knew, first off, how good of a person he was having played for him,” Gabinet said. “He was my D coach. And when you’re a player, people always ask you afterward who’s influenced you as a coach.

“He’s one of those guys I always respected in how he treated his players, how hard he worked to get us better and how much he cared about us. I know he was instrumental in helping me develop my game.”

Jerrard, a Winnipeg native, became available when Calgary fired coach Glen Gulutzan and his assistants following a 37-35-10 campaign in which the Flames failed to make the playoffs. He’ll now join a staff that includes Gabinet, assistant Dave Noel-Bernier and new director of hockey operations Brian Kaufman.

“I want to thank Mike and UNO for giving me this opportunity,” Jerrard said in a press release. “I’ve always loved college hockey, and I’m looking forward to working with and developing our players, not just in their hockey careers but academically as well to help them prepare for success in the future.”

Gabinet said he spoke to NHL coaches about Jerrard and came away impressed.

“To hear how the NHL coaches are speaking about him, we’re very fortunate to have him join our program,” he said. “I think he’s going to be a great fit with Noel-Bernier. I think you’re going to have two extremely high-level coaches working together for a common goal. And to get someone of this caliber and magnitude into our program is absolutely a huge step in the right direction for our program.”

Tony covers UNO sports, the Omaha Storm Chasers and boxing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @BooneOWH. Phone: 402-444-1027.

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