Thursday morning at CN Centre, the Prince George Cougars announced Mark Lamb as the 13th Head Coach in franchise history. Lamb will also continue in his current post as General Manager.
Lamb, who took over from Richard Matvichuk in February as the interim head coach, said through a lot of patience and a lot of resumes, at the end of the day, he was the best fit for the job. Lamb said he thought the team ended on a positive last season despite their record.
Through conversations with players and colleagues, Lamb believes doing both the general manager duties and head coaching work gives him a unique opportunity.
“I look forward to building this group with a hands on approach” said Lamb at the press conference.
Perhaps the most shocking reveal at the media-only gathering was that Mark Lamb admitted he was offered an assistant coaching position with the Edmonton Oilers.
The position would’ve been alongside longtime friend and colleague Dave Tippett — someone to whom Lamb says he talks three to four times a week.
But instead, Lamb said no to the NHL and elected to stay in Prince George for what he called the “long term”
“The time just wasn’t right,” said Lamb. “I came here for a reason, and here I am selling the draft picks and selling the organization on where I can go and what I can do with it, and then that job pops in there.”
He later joked about the NHL lifestyle, “I’m from Cadillac, Saskatchewan; private jets are nice, but we don’t have many of those there.”
He eluded to his time in Swift Current, where he took on a similar position and perhaps left for the next level too soon, before he could complete his goal.
At the end of the day, he says the decision took a lot of thinking, and he came to Prince George to complete a task nobody has been able to do before with the Cougars: build a winning program, and keep it consistent.
Lamb confirmed that Associate Coach Steve O’Rourke would not be returning behind the bench due to more of a situational scenario than anything else.
Nick Drazenovic will stay with the team in a player development capacity.
The former NHLer’s next partner behind the pine in Prince George — someone that could take the reins if Mark needed to step away from the bench to fill his GM duties — is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Lamb’s only hint regarding who that might be is the suggestion that this candidate would be running the defensive side of the roster.