By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Prince George Cougars are expected to introduce Mark Holick as their new head coach today, The Daily News has learned.
A source speaking anonymously because the announcement hadn’t yet been made told The Daily News late Tuesday afternoon that Holick, 44, has signed a three-year contract. The announcement is to be made at a news conference in Prince George this morning.
Holick, a native of Penticton, will replace Dean Clark, who was fired yesterday.
“We’ve gotten a little bit stale and we needed to correct that,” Dallas Thompson, the Cougars’ general manager, told Sheri Lamb of the Prince George Citizen. “I didn’t want to do this today, but obviously when things happen you look around a little bit and talk to some people and go from there. This isn’t a move we wanted to be making today. We made a long-term commitment to Dean. Unfortunately, we just thought we needed to do something here to get a fresh start and get moving in a different way.”
The Cougars, who entertain the Prince Albert Raiders tonight, are 14-26-6 and five points out of a Western Conference playoff spot.
It is expected that assistant coach Jason Becker will run the bench tonight, with Holick taking over for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against the visiting Everett Silvertips.
Clark was in his fourth season as the Cougars’ head coach, and had a record of 83-163-16. He has one season left on a five-year contract that was agreed to in April 2009.
Clark also has coached the Calgary Hitmen, Brandon Wheat Kings and Kamloops Blazers. With 465 coaching victories, he is eighth on the WHL’s all-time list.
The Cougars are the fourth WHL team to make a coaching change this season.
The Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks and Red Deer Rebels also have made coaching changes this season. Portland’s change was forced upon it when the WHL suspended general manager/head coach Mike Johnston for the remainder of this season as part of disciplining the franchise for some rules violations.
Holick last coached in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice (2007-10), leaving there to become head coach of the Syracuse Crunch, then the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks.
However, Trent Yawney was hired as the Crunch’s associate head coach on Jan. 9, 2012, with Holick assigned to the role of assistant coach.
This season, Holick, who relocated his family to Penticton, has been on the road, doing some scouting for the Ducks.
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