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Longtime hockey coach Paul Jerrard passes away at 57

Paul Jerrard Paul Jerrard - Getty Images

The Omaha Mavericks announced on Thursday that assistant coach has passed away at the age of 57.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of assistant coach, Paul Jerrard," head coach Mike Gabinet said in a team statement. "Paul had been quietly fighting a long-term battle with cancer. Our program will be forever indebted to PJ for his countless positive impact. 

"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."

Jerrard joined the Mavericks in 2018 after 23 years behind the bench as an assistant coach in the NHL, AHL and NCAA. His coaching career began at Laker Superior State, where he coached four of the first five seasons of his coaching career. Before joining the Mavericks, he spent two seasons with the Calgary Flames from 2016 to 2018 - the only Black assistant coach in the league at the time. He also worked behind the bench for two years with the Dallas Stars and one season with the Colorado Avalanche.

A native of Winnipeg, Jerrard's playing career started as a blueliner with Lake Superior University in 1983. His 14-year professional and collegiate playing career was highlighted by a stint in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars, the Hershey Bears in the AHL, as well as the Colorado Rangers, Kalamazoo Wings, Albany Choppers and Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL. Jerrard won the Calder Cup with the 1996-97 Hershey Bears.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.