Especially in Seattle.
For most of the 1960s the 6'3" 215lb rugged blue liner was a key member of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Totems. He was the biggest of a group of giants on that back line. In fact, the defensemen were collectively dubbed the Jolly Green Giants.
Ward may have been rough and at times unforgiving, but he was no goon.
"It was fairly rough," Ward told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2006. "I didn't run all over the place, but if they came near me, I took them out. If they were looking for me, I wasn't too hard to find. It was not too bad at all. It was very enjoyable. I'd do it all over again."
"Wardie" paid a hefty price for his physical ways. He had both knees surgically repaired, broke an ankle, separated a shoulder, had three disks removed from his back, lost several teeth and was treated for countless cuts.
"I needed a few hundred stitches, all over my face and head," Ward said. "I got hit in the head with pucks and sticks. My wife says I don't have too many scars. The doctor sewed me up pretty good."
Despite all the blood and sweat, Ward never really had a chance to succeed in the NHL. Like so many journeyman players in the days of the Original Six, there was just not enough jobs and too many good hockey players.
But Ward had no regrets. Though the Sarnia, Ontario native was not even sure if people in Seattle even knew what hockey was when he first came out west, he quickly fell in love with Washington state.
And the fans loved him back. He played 11 seasons for the Totems, highlighted by consecutive WHL championships in 1967 and '68. He played 691 games, scoring 32 goals and dealing out 150 assists, while becoming the franchise leader in penalty minutes with 1,110.
Ward retired to Magnolia, Washington where he worked as a supervisor with a manufacturing company.