Holick new Cougar boss
The newest addition to the Prince George Cougars’ staff will make his debut tonight.
Recently hired Mark Holick will be behind the bench guiding the Cougars tonight against the Everett Silvertips (7 p.m. at CN Centre).
The Cougars named Holick their head coach during a press conference on Wednesday. He replaces Dean Clark, relieved of his duties on Tuesday.
Holick travelled from his home in Penticton to Prince George on Wednesday. The Cougars had a home game that evening against the Prince Albert Raiders, assistant coach Jason Becker filling the head coaching role for the contest.
Holick looked forward to attempting to help turn around the fortunes of a struggling franchise. They entered Wednesday’s game with a record of 14 wins, 26 losses, two overtime setbacks and four shootout defeats (14-26-2-4). They were ninth in the 10-team Western Conference, five points out of a playoff spot.
“Obviously I’m the coach of the hockey club now and we just want to instill the work ethic and the direction that this group of young men can get to,” Holick said on Wednesday, during his trip north to Prince George. He hoped to reach his destination in time to catch the Cougars’ game against the Raiders. “We want to eliminate any sort of excuses that creep in with travel, etc. We want to make sure that we get these guys into the right frame of mind and get them believing in themselves and move forward with good habits. One thing I’m certainly going to preach is habits, beginning in practice.”
This isn’t the first WHL coaching gig for Holick, a 44-year-old Saskatoon, Sask., product. He guided the Kootenay Ice from 2007 to 2010, sporting an overall record of 120-75-0-21 with the Cranbrook-based franchise. He was named the WHL Coach of the Year in the 2009-10 campaign.
More recently, Holick guided the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch from 2010 to 2012.
In Kootenay, Holick was able turn a young lineup into a competitive team. He said he believes the Cougars can go the same direction, pointing towards the steps they’ve made in scouting.
“Talking with other people outside the Cougars organization, when I was talking about this job, their guys coming up in the draft are guys that certainly should be heard from,” he said. “It’s an exciting time. I think the best is hopefully yet to come and like I said, we want to make sure the boys work hard consistently and be proud of the situation they’re in.”
Hollick is married to wife Janet with a son and daughter, 16-year-old Cooper and 13-year-old Kennedy. Cooper is a forward on the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Summerland Steam.
Cougars general manager Dallas Thompson calls Holick a players’ coach.
“He demands respect and I think that if he’s not getting efforts, there will be certain measures taken until he does.”
For more on the Cougars, check Page B2.