It looks like the Edmonton Oilers have found themselves an assistant coach for Todd McLellan – finalizing their coaching staff for the upcoming 2015-16 NHL season.
Ian Herbers – the former head coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears – reportedly chose to join the Oilers staff on Sunday as an assistant. According to Larry Fisher of the Daily Courier (and The Hockey Writers), Herbers was also the frontrunner for a head coaching job with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.
— Larry Fisher (@LarryFisher_KDC) July 13, 2015
“They hired him (Sunday), so that was one of the list,” said Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets President and General Manager, in the Fisher piece. “We were very high on him. He would’ve been a slam-dunk in my mind, but that’s the way it goes.”
Herbers became the coach of his alma mater in 2012 after leaving the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. He led the Golden Bears to three Conference Championships and two CIS National Championships during his tenure.
Along with joining McLellan’s staff, Herbers already has a relationship with the new Oilers coach having played 78 games under Edmonton’s new bench boss with the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL in 2000-01.
The hiring is not only a steal for the Oilers, but Herbers should add a lot of experience to an already impressive coaching staff. While the hiring remains unofficial at this point, everything points to the move being authenticated in due time.