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Refusing to quit pays off for Sharks Joel Ward

Refusing to quit pays off for Sharks Joel Ward
refusing-to-quit-pays-off-for-sharks-joel-ward
Over the summer, the San Jose Sharks identified http://www.authenticrangersshop.com/authentic-99-wayne-gretzky-jersey.html a need for a versatile veteran who could be relied upon in all situations and play a hard game. There were a couple of names tossed around that were available via free agency, but only one stood out: Joel Ward. "I got to coach against him a lot in the Eastern Conference while I was with New Jersey and he was in Washington, and I coached him at the World Championship [in 2014], so I knew him well and recommended to [Sharks general manager Doug Wilson] that if we got a chance to sign him, we should." said Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. "I really felt he could help us. He plays the game the right way. He's a nice combination of size and power. He's got some finesse to his game. He can score goals. He goes to the tough areas of the ice. He's a real good hockey player, and he's a great teammate. There's a lot to like about Joel Ward." Wilson agreed and on July 3 Phil Esposito Womens Jersey signed the 6-1, 226-pound right winger to a three-year deal worth $9.825 million. "Every box we had, he checked off for us. He was just the perfect fit," Wilson explained. "He's been everything we hoped he would be and more and I think just epitomizes what being a hockey player is all about. He just loves the game." It's that love for the game that paved Ward's long, winding and bumpy road to the NHL and continues to fuel his fire in his eighth season. The youngest of three boys of Barbadian immigrants raised in a suburb of Toronto, all Ward ever wanted to do was play hockey. His older brothers, Shane and Julien, stopped playing in high school, but Joel just couldn't do it. "I loved the game and wanted to play it. It was fun for me," Ward said. "It wasn't until I made the team in Owen Sound that I really started to think maybe I could do something with this and play at a higher level." After four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, Ward Kevin Mchale Kids Jersey wasn't drafted but earned a tryout with the Detroit Red Wings, where things didn't go quite the way he had hoped. "They wanted me to go to Toledo and try out for their ECHL team, but they weren't going to put me on a contract. It was just a tryout and school had already started, and I had to make a decision," Ward explained. "Without a contract, I felt it was better to go the school route, work on my hockey, get an education and try again later." Ward found a home at the University of Prince Edward Island, where he learned a lot about hockey and even more about himself as he navigated the challenges of being a student-athlete. After two years with the Cougars, Ward earned another tryout, this time with the Minnesota Wild. And this time he was offered a contract -- a two-way AHL/ECHL deal. But it wasn't the deal he wanted. With his http://www.authenticyankeesshop.com/authentic-4-lou-gehrig-jersey.html dreams of playing in the NHL on life support, he returned to PEI to work on his game while continuing his studies. "I just needed to get to the American League somehow," he said. "That was my goal. I just needed to get there, and if I did that, then I could give myself a shot of making it to the NHL. I just had to keep working hard."

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