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B’s extend assistant coaches

11.30.09 at 9:24 am ET
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Several assistants under Claude Julien had reason to be very thankful over the just-completed holiday weekend when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli extended them to multi-year extensions.

Chiarelli announced on Sunday that the club has signed assistant coaches Doug Houda, Craig Ramsay and Geoff Ward, goaltending coach Bob Essensa and video coach Brant Berglund to multi-year contract extensions.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The team’s release is below:

Houda, hired by the Bruins on July 25, 2006, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Black & Gold. He came to the Bruins following three seasons as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. The Amerks had a 125-86-16-13 record over his three seasons as an assistant, including a franchise record 112 points in 2004-05.

Houda was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (28th overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed a 15-year playing career. He had 19-63=82 totals and 1,104 penalty minutes in 561 career NHL games with Buffalo, Detroit, Hartford, New York Islanders, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Ramsay is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Bruins organization after being named to Claude Julien’s staff on August 1, 2007. Ramsay played 14 years in the NHL and has over 20 years of coaching, scouting and front office experience with NHL teams. Ramsay was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round (1st overall) in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft and played his entire 14-year NHL career with the Sabres.

He retired in 1985 with 252-420=672 totals in 1,070 career NHL games and won the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward in 1984-85. After retiring, he served eight seasons in the Sabres front office in a variety of capacities and has spent time on the coaching staffs of the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2003-04.

Ward is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Bruins, as he was named to Julien’s staff on August, 1, 2007. He arrived to Boston with 12 years of coaching experience at the Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League levels, in addition to two head coaching stints in Germany. He began a five-year affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers organization in 2001 when he was named an assistant coach with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs under Julien.

When Julien was named the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens in January, 2003, Ward took over Hamilton’s coaching reins and led that team to the 2003 Calder Cup Finals, sharing the AHL’s Coach of the Year honors with Julien for the 2002-03 season.

Named the club’s goaltending coach on September 9, 2003, Essensa is in his seventh season with the Bruins organization. Based out of his home in Michigan, Essensa joins the team at various times during the season to work with the organization’s goaltenders both in Boston and in Providence.

After playing four years of collegiate hockey at Michigan State, he was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the fifth round (71st overall) in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft and played five-plus seasons in the Jets organization. He played for six NHL teams over a 14-year professional career and played his final season in the NHL with the Sabres in 2001-02. His career record was 173-176-47 with a 3.15 Goals Against Average and 18 shutouts in 446 games with Winnipeg, Detroit, Edmonton, Phoenix, Vancouver and Buffalo.

Berglund is in his seventh season with the organization as the team’s video coach. He graduated from Boston University in 2001 with a degree in communications. While a student at BU, he worked with the Terriers’ nationally- ranked hockey program as a team manager and later as a video coordinator.

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