After watching Dan Lambert at work the last four-plus seasons as Ryan Huska’s right-hand man, Bruce Hamilton is convinced the 43-year-old ex-pro defenceman has a promising future as a head coach.
With that in mind, the Kelowna Rockets have signed Lambert to a two-year contract extension through the 2015–16 WHL season.
“Dan is certainly a strong candidate to become a head coach and that’s why we want to keep him in our organization,“ said Hamilton, the Rockets president and GM. “He’s done a wonderful job developing our young defenceman. He’s a quality person and we’re thrilled to have him in our organization.“
Lambert, the defensive specialist on the club’s staff, is in his fifth season as an assistant coach with the Rockets.
From both professional and personal standpoints, remaining in Kelowna was the logical decision for Lambert.
“There’s no doubt I have aspirations on being a head coach down the road, but I’m certainly not in a hurry to get there,“ Lambert said. “It’s nice to be part of this organization, and the staff we have, these are great guys to work with. With the team’s record and reputation, there’s no better place to be in junior hockey.
“From my family’s perspective, my wife and kids are pretty comfortable here, so it’s a good situation for us.“
Lambert joined the Rockets after a 19-year professional career that saw him play for the Quebec Nordiques, as well as at the AHL and IHL levels in North America. He also had a long and prosperous career in Germany’s top league the DEL.
A Memorial Cup winner as a junior with the Swift Current Broncos, Lambert recorded 102 points as a WHL defenceman in 1988–89.
Among the defenceman that Lambert has worked with include Tyson Barrie, for his final two years with the Rockets, as well as current Rockets and NHL draft picks Madison Bowey and Damon Severson as well as up and coming youngster Riley Stadel.
“When you look at developing our defenceman, Dan has done a great job right from the day he started,“ said Hamilton. “He’s an excellent coach.“
Rocket Shots…The Rockets, who have won seven straight games, will host the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday at Prospera Place…The Rockets (14-2-0-2) came in at the No. 3 spot in the Canadian Hockey League’s latest weekly top-10 rankings. Kelowna, which has the top winning percentage (.833) in the WHL, moved up from seventh a week earlier…Rockets’ defencemen Damon Severson and Madison Bowey will play in both games for Team WHL later this month in the Subway Super Series against the Russians. The two teams will face off Wednesday, Nov. 27 in Red Deer and Thursday, Nov. 28 in Lethbridge.