Kyle Balzer, My PG Now

There’s no substitution for experience.

Nothing against Todd Harkins but he had never been a general manager of a WHL team before accepting that monumental task with the Prince George Cougars in 2014.

If Harkins gets another chance down the road, you can bet he will have learned from his mistakes in P.G. and his new team will be better for it.

Fast forward to this week as the Cougars filled a position that had been vacant for three months.

They hired experience to take over the GM’s chair.

Mark Lamb comes with excellent credentials.

This doesn’t mean everything he touches will turn to gold, but he is wiser now than in 2009 when he began a seven-year stint as coach and general manager of the Swift Current Broncos.

“There’s nothing better than when I first came to Swift Current. I’d been in hockey my whole life, I’d been an assistant coach in the NHL for seven years, I’d been in development, so I got to work with a lot of young hockey players, but I’d never been a head coach before and I hadn’t been a GM before. So I was very patient, I talked to a lot of people, which I’m going to do in Prince George, that’s never going to change,” said Lamb, the day he was announced as the new man in charge.

“I think you have to use everybody, and I think you have to use not only people in Prince George, but you got to use everyone that contributes and gives good advice and I think I’m lucky enough to have a lot of people that I can do that with. I’ve made many contacts in my years, I’ve never won a championship and that’s our goal. Swift Current did win a championship this year; I’ve seen a lot of pieces that I put together, I’ve seen a lot of my vision that was done in that championship team, so that’s another experience I can draw from.”

The 53-year-old Lamb had other job opportunities but the lure of getting back into the WHL was an opportunity he couldn’t resist.

He spent the 2016-17 season as head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners before the Arizona Coyotes let him go.

Lamb played for 17 teams in seven leagues, including the WHL, AHL and NHL, winning the Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990.

He’s been an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers (2001-02) and with the Dallas Stars (2002-09).

In other words, he’s been around the block.

Lamb won’t turn the Cougars fortunes around overnight but he should provide much needed leadership, and a calmness to the organization.

He’s well known and respected in the hockey world.

With his background, I doubt he will panic over a six-game losing streak or get too excited about winning six games in a row.

When the Vancouver Giants hired Barclay Parneta as GM last month, one of his first moves surprisingly was to fire head coach Jason McKee, who had been on the job two years.

The same thing won’t happen to Cougars coach Richard Matvichuk, who has a year left on a three year deal.

“You want to come in and you want to evaluate as soon as you can. The good thing about it is I’ve known Matvichuk for a long time; I coached him in Dallas, so we have that relationship, we can communicate with each other and the other coaching staff too. I look at it as a big positive and it’s going to get me up and running a lot quicker.”

Lamb was hired by the Cougars EDGEPRO ownership group, led by shareholder Eric Brewer.

“I have a relationship with Eric Brewer all the way back from the Edmonton days when I was a player development assistant coach. It’s a prestigious job and it’s a great job to have; I was lucky enough to come out with it.”

Lamb will arrive in Prince George, and will fully assess the roster and other aspects of the team before contemplating changes.

“You don’t want to do anything drastic. You’ve got to sit back and look at everything.”

In other words, it will take some time for Lamb to make his “MARK” on the Cougars.

WATCH:

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

The U.S. will host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico. Players can either travel from the U.S. to Mexico by plane or just walk past the wall that still won’t be built.

*Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon

 

The 2026 World Cup was jointly awarded to the U.S., Canada and Mexico: Apparently FIFA could not make up its minds from whom to take a bribe.

*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg http://thordoggie.blogspot.ca/

 

San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door after a blown save. Since he forgot to open the door first, he officially loses his status as a closer.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

 

Hunter Strickland clearly needed to pay more attention to Lebron James, who apparently figured out a way to hit a wall and only cause an injury he could play through.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

 

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Adrian Houser threw up on the mound during a recent game. He gave up a run but finished the inning. Guess you can say he really “gutted it out.”

*Marc Ragovin of New York 

 

A financial adviser for ex-NFLer Cory Redding was convicted of stealing $4.5 million from him and got hit with a seven-year prison sentence. Now that’s what you call a withholding penalty.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Can’t say if Donald Trump will ask this year’s Triple Crown winner to the White House but I’m pretty sure Justify is going to say “neigh.”

*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

 

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller