Cougars fire head coach Clark and replace him with former Ice boss Holick

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Dave Leaderhouse

It was an unexpected shake-up when the Prince George Cougars fired head coach Dean Clark on Tuesday. Clark still had a year-and-a-half to go on a five-year contract, but a 14-26-2-4 record didn’t instil a lot of confidence in general manager Dallas Thompson that the club was heading in the right direction. Clark, who has also coached in Brandon, Calgary and Kamloops, had an overall record of 83-163-5-11 record with Prince George. Thompson said that recent defections by Alex Forsberg and Daulton Siwak had nothing to do with the dismissal, but something obviously wasn’t working with the northern B.C. club. Taking over for Clark is former Kootenay Ice bench boss Mark Holick. The native of Saskatoon recently coached the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League and he has had several years of experience in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and Alberta Junior Hockey League winning a Royal Bank Cup title with Surrey in 1998. Holick was not expected to be behind the bench on Wednesday when the Cougars hosted the Prince Albert Raiders, but he is to be with his new club this weekend.

Tri-Cities Americans will be relying on former Raider netminder Luke Lee-Knight for the remainder of the season when the club announced last week that No. 1 goaltender Eric Comrie required season-ending hip surgery. Lee-Knight came to the Raiders with Anthony Bardaro in a deal that sent Todd Fiddler to Spokane just over a year ago, but he was released at the end of the season. Lee-Knight then attended the Americans camp, but was released prior to the start of the season and relocated to Humboldt with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Broncos. When Brenden Fiebelkorn decided to leave the Americans in November, Lee-Knight was summoned back to Kennewick, Wash., and now two months later he is the main man between the pipes for Tri-Cities. Prior to the injury, Comrie had played almost every game for the Americans and was considered a late first-round or early second-round pick in this summer’s NHL entry draft.

The Kamloops Blazers will be retiring another number on Friday when Scott Niedermayer’s No. 28 will be raised to the rafters. Niedermayer played for the Blazers in the early 1990’s and helped the club to its first-ever Memorial Cup championship in 1992. Niedermayer, who went on to win four Stanley Cups during a 17-year NHL career, will join Greg Hawgood (#4), Mark Recchi (#8), Dean Evason (#20), Greg Evtushevski (#26) and Rob Brown (#44) as the only players to have their numbers retired by the Kamloops franchise…The Red Deer Rebels will also be going back into their past as they will hold a Rustlers Heritage Night on Feb. 23 when the Raiders make their final visit of the season. The Rebels will be wearing replica jerseys of the Rustlers team from 1980 that won a Centennial Cup championship while playing Tier 2 junior hockey in the AJHL. Red Deer, who had present coach and general manager Brent Sutter on that club, beat out the Raiders in the western final to prevent Prince Albert from having a shot at an unprecedented four national championships in a row. The Raiders won Centennial Cups in 1977, ’79, ’81 and ’82. Money raised from the sale of the jerseys following the game will go to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Still with the Rebels, team billet co-ordinator Judy Seher has been named as the WHL’s 2012-13 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. Seher has been with the team since it joined the WHL in 1992 and has been involved with the club in a number of capacities…The Kelowna Rockets have won a team record 19 straight games on home ice and are closing in on the franchise mark of 24 set by the Tacoma Rockets in 1992-93. The league mark is 29 set by Kamloops in 1993-94…Swift Current recently held a Rider Pride Hockey Challenge with Broncos’ alumni taking on several Saskatchewan Roughriders in a game of shinny. Playing for the Riders were Kory Sheets, Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf while among the Swift Current players were Sheldon Kennedy and Todd Holt. Proceeds from the event were split between the Broncos’ education fund and Swift Current minor football.

When Seattle beat Portland the other night, it was the Thunderbirds’ first win since Dec. 7 (15 games). Ironically, it was the Winterhawks’ first regulation loss since Dec. 7 (15 games)…Medicine Hat Tigers held a skills competition with the $5 admission donated to the MS Society of Canada… Vancouver Giants partnered with several schools to hold an Acceptance Flash Mob at a recent game. More than 2,000 students took part in the choreographed dance number to raise awareness of Anti Bullying Day on Feb. 27…Stagg Chilli has become a major sponsor of the WHL and to celebrate the association the company is offering minor hockey league teams an opportunity to win $3,000 to be used to offset expenses. Teams can submit a photo to staggchilli.ca showing fun and creative ways to use their products.

Information from the WHL Notebook is gathered from submissions by the WHL Writer’s Group.

 

Organizations: Alberta Junior Hockey League, Tri-Cities, American Hockey League British Columbia Junior Hockey League NHL Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Prince Albert Canadian Cancer Society Distinguished Service Thunderbirds MS Society of Canada

Geographic location: Kamloops, Brandon, Calgary Northern B.C. Saskatoon Surrey Swift Current Kennewick, Wash. Red Deer Seattle Portland WHL Writer

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