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Keynote Speakers

Ted Nolan 

“Overcoming Obstacles and Dealing with Adversity”

Ted Nolan Ted believes that pride, strength, and a willingness to dream are the cornerstones of success. Born in 1958 on the Garden River First Nation in northern Ontario, Ted was third youngest of twelve children, living in a house lacking plumbing and electricity. He grew up playing minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie leaving home at the age of 16 to play junior hockey in Kenora, Ontario. The following year he played for his hometown SSM Greyhounds of the OHL and in 1978 was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. He also went on to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins and after a serious back injury was forced to retire at the age of 26.

Ted began his coaching career with the Greyhounds taking his team to three straight Memorial Cup appearances, eventually winning the Memorial Cup Championship in 1993. In 1994, Ted moved on to the professional ranks as an assistant coach with the Hartford Whalers and in 1995 was named the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. The following season Ted took his team to a 1st first place finish in the Northeast Division and was named NHL Coach of the Year.

Ted would also go on to coach the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL and lead them to the league championship in 2007. He returned to the NHL to coach the New York Islanders and in 2014 he led the Lativan Men’s National Ice Hockey Team to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, losing to Team Canada in the quarterfinals.

In 2004, in honour of his late mother Rose, Ted started the Ted Nolan Foundation and subsequently established the Rose Nolan Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation raised nearly 2 million dollars and awarded scholarships to over 130 First Nation women across Canada. The Foundation has since transitioned, transferring remaining funds to colleges, training institutes and universities and continuing to grant Rose Nolan Scholarships for years to come. Ted has received honorary degrees from Laurentian University, Cape Breton University, Algoma University and most recently St. Thomas University.

Currently employed by the Chiefs of Ontario, Ted is political advisor to Regional Chief Glen Hare. He is also the co-founder and president of 3Nolans, where along with sons, Brandon, and Jordan, they operate hockey schools in First Nation communities.

Ted is a coveted speaker and author of “Life in Two Worlds,” a Canadian Best Seller published in October 2023. In his memoir, Ted chronicles his journey from Garden River First Nation to the highest ranks of professional hockey.

Ted has been married to his wife Sandra for over 43 years and they have been blessed with five grandchildren. He learned resilience from his parents Stan and Rose. From his mother, receiving pride in his heritage and helping him become the strong man he is today. He also learned to follow his dreams, no matter how big or small.

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