The Prince George Cougars have hired Mark Lamb as the sixth general manager in franchise history, Tuesday morning.
The Cougars have signed the 53-year-old to a four-year contract.
“Mark is someone who I’m quite familiar with and have a lot of respect for from playing under him in Edmonton,” said Eric Brewer, shareholder EDGEPRo Sports & Entertainment, in a news release. “When going through this process, it was very clear how highly regarded he is in the hockey world and the reputation he has garnered,”
“I’d like to thank the ownership group for this opportunity and I’m excited to join the Cougars organization,” said Lamb. “I’m familiar with several people within the organization, including Richard Matvichuk, Steve O’Rourke and having coached Eric Brewer.”
Lamb replaces Todd Harkins, who was with the club for five years, four as general manager. Harkins’ contract was not extended at the end of the season after the club finished last in the B.C. Division this year with a 24-38-5-5 record, and did not make the playoffs
Lamb comes to Prince George with a hockey resume, which includes a Stanley Cup, and spans over three decades as a player and coach. After a 15-year playing career at the professional level, Lamb started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers in 2001-2002. He then moved onto the Dallas Stars, spending six years (2002-2009) behind the bench as an Assistant Coach.
“He brings years of experience in player development, coaching and management at both the junior level and at the pro level. In our conversations, it became quite clear Mark shared the same vision our ownership group has for this franchise going forward. By signing a multi-year contract, Mark has shown how committed he is to our organization and Prince George,” said Brewer.
Lamb was named the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in 2009, a position he held until 2016. In 2015-16, the Broncos roster featured five players, including Glenn Gawdin and Tyler Steenbergen, that went on to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup this past season. He then spent one season (2016-17) as the Head Coach of the Tucson Roadrunners, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes.
The Swift Current, Saskatchewan product says he’s quite comfortable in stepping into his new role in Prince George, “In speaking with Eric and the ownership group, they made it clear they’re deeply committed to making this organization a destination in the WHL. I’m very familiar with that process, having done that in Swift Current and that’s why I think this a great fit for my family and I.”
When asked what he brings to the position, Lamb was quick to point out his experience: “I’ve been involved in coaching and managing in hockey for the past 17 years and have done several different jobs in scouting, coaching and management in this league and at the professional level. I have a strong work ethic, a passion for the game and I’m patient and I think those traits are key in building up a franchise.”
As a player, Lamb was known as a creative playmaker with a tenacious work ethic and those traits afforded him a lengthy playing career at the professional level. He played five seasons in the WHL in Billings, Nanaimo and Medicine Hat. He was drafted by the Calgary Flames, 72nd overall, in the 1982 NHL Draft, and made his NHL debut with the Flames in the 1985-86 season. He then went on to play 13 seasons and over 400 career regular season games in the NHL between Calgary, Detroit, Edmonton, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Montreal. Lamb won the 1990 Stanley Cup with the Oilers, after picking up 17 points in 22 playoff games. He also won the Turner Cup in the International Hockey League, with the Houston Aeros in 1999.
Lamb says he’s ready to get to work: “Building a winner takes patience but it starts with our players. Players need to enjoy themselves on and off the ice and we’re going to instill that culture here.”