The Dean Clark era in Prince George ended last Tuesday when general manager Dallas Thompson fired the Cougars coach following three-and-a-half lacklustre seasons. Although I believe Clarks dismissal was warranted, I want to draw attention to Thompsons contributions to the Cougars organization since taking over the reigns from Daryl Lubiniecki as general manager in May 2004.
Thompsons tenure in Prince George has been marked by dizzying heights (Western Conference Final in 2007) but also dismal lows (CHL worst 12 wins in 2009-2010). Unfortunately, the lows outnumber the highs by a wide margin. Thompson has been responsible for the hiring and firing of head coaches Lane Lambert, Mike Vandekamp, Drew Schoneck, Wade Klippenstein and, most recently, Dean Clark. How many more coaches will be blamed for the hockey clubs struggles before the general manager is shown the door?
In the last eight seasons, the Cougars have missed the playoffs four times and were eliminated quite handily in the first round three times. In addition, Thompson, whose winning percentage as general manager is a bleak 0.389, stated that Clarks message became stale, forcing him to make a change behind the bench.
The only things getting stale are Thompsons unrealistic claims of prospect depth and empty promises of an exciting on-ice product.
I wish Clark the best of luck in his future endeavors. His 900-plus games of coaching experience will almost surely land him a job within the WHL in the near future.