The Prince George Cougars have hired Jim Playfair as the team’s new associate coach.
Playfair takes over for Josh Dixon who has accepted a position with the University of Guelph. Playfair, from Fort St. James, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team, having spent 15 years coaching in the NHL as both an associate coach and head coach.
He was part of the Cougars coaching staff in a part-time role in 2022-2023.
“It’s really exciting,” said Playfair. “The business part of it is done and now the fun part is right around the corner. I think after last year with the experience of being around the team, the ownership, and the excitement of the playoffs, it really energized me about getting back into the game and the opportunity in Prince George makes it even much more exciting being close to home.”
His coaching journey includes stints with various teams in the NHL, including the Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers. In the American Hockey League (AHL), Playfair coached with the Calgary Flames organization in Saint John and Abbotsford. Before reaching the professional level, he also coached with the Michigan K-Wings in the International Hockey League (IHL) and the Dayton Bombers in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
“Anytime you have an opportunity to work with a person like Jim, you take the opportunity,” said general manager and head coach Mark Lamb. “We are very honoured to have Jim join our group and his experience in hockey and coaching goes without saying. There could not be a better fit at this time.”
Jim Playfair’s hockey career as a player was also notable. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers as the 20th overall pick in the 1982 NHL draft. He played a total of 21 NHL games, split between the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks. During his pro career, he spent significant time in the AHL with the Nova Scotia Oilers, recording 40 points in 174 games.
Additionally, he played in the International Hockey League with the Saginaw Hawks and the Indianapolis Ice, winning the IHL Championship in the 1989-90 season. Before his professional career, Playfair played for the Portland Winterhawks and the Calgary Wranglers in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He achieved great success during his WHL days, winning both the WHL Championship in 1982 and the Memorial Cup Championship in 1983, both with the Portland Winterhawks.
Throughout his WHL career, he tallied 23 goals and 55 assists. His extensive experience as a player and coach at various levels of hockey makes Jim Playfair a valuable addition to the Prince George Cougars’ coaching staff.