The Prince George Cougars announced the hiring of ex-Kelowna Rockets bench boss Jason Smith to bolster their coaching tandem for the 2019-20 season.
Smith, will join Cougars general manager Mark Lamb in a role the Cougars called a “co-coach,” although on paper he’ll be labelled as an associate coach.
Mark Lamb and Jason Smith have a unique connection from their time in the NHL together that is just an example of how small the hockey world is.
From 1993 until 1996, the pair played in the NHL but were on different teams.
Smith was just at the beginning of his career while playing the majority of those years with the New Jersey Devils but also played in a small stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On the other hand, Lamb was nearing the end of his career playing with Ottawa Senators, the Philadelphia Flyers, before finishing up with the Montreal Canadiens.
Combined behind the bench with 1 549 games in the NHL, the Cougars have the most experienced bodies they’ve ever had back there in a franchise history that is going on its 26th season in Prince George.
The real tallies come in with penalty minutes though.
With two players who were notorious for playing a gritty style that often lead to dropping the gloves add Lamb’s 342 penalty minutes with Smith’s 1,159 pims and the grand total hits at a whopping 1 501 minutes spent in the sin bin.
Only time will tell how many penalty minutes their new roster will rack up come September.
Surely they’ll be a team that nobody will want to mess with if Lamb and Smith have their way.
Looking at the goals and assists, the numbers aren’t as impressive perhaps as their penalty minute totals but considering the numbers of other coaching staffs around the league, they’re still above average.
Including the NHL playoffs, the pair have eerily similar final numbers.
Lamb comes in with 53 goals and 119 helpers for a grand total of 162 points.
Smith as a defenseman finished with 42 goals and 138 assists that add up to an even 180 points.
The team has failed to make the playoffs for two consecutive seasons, the first time this has happened since before the new club ownership took over.
The Cougars will now look to erase that trend in what could be a very competitive BC Division in the upcoming season.