On Monday the Columbus Blue Jackets announced the hiring of Ian Clark as their new goaltending coach. Clark held the same position with the Vancouver Canucks from 2002-2010. Clark replaces Dave Rook who resigned the position when the team decided they wanted a full-time coach. Rook had also received criticism due to the poor play of both goaltenders Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon last season.
Clark, 45, will seemingly have his hands full with Steve Mason who has failed to live up to his Calder Trophy winning season of 2008-09. It is unclear at this time whether the Blue Jackets intend to re-sign Garon who is an unrestricted free agent as their back-up goaltender or move in a different direction. Due in part to his previous relationship with him, Vancouver’s current back-up Cory Schneider has been mentioned as a possible trade target for the Blue Jackets. Hiring his former coach could be a possible indication that they intend to explore that possibility.
Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel has some experience with Clark as he coached Vancouver’s AHL club the Manitoba Moose from 2006-2010. “Having worked with Ian in the past, I believe his work ethic, knowledge of the goaltending position, and the way he communicates with players will make him an excellent addition to our staff,” said Arniel. “He has worked with a number of very succesful NHL goaltenders and will be a great resource for our players at this very important position.”
Among his credentials, Clark coached for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships from 2003-2006 helping them win two gold and two silver medals, and has worked with Roberto Luongo, Cam Ward, Marc-Andre Fleury, Cory Schneider, and Andrew Raycroft. He was the founder of the Goaltender Development Institute and served as technical author of From the Crease – The Self Development Guide to Hockey Goaltendingfrom 1998-2003 and The Goalie News from 2003-08. He is married and has six children – all sons.