The Oilers announced on Tuesday they have hired Ian Herbers as an Assistant Coach under Head Coach Todd McLellan. Herbers has spent the past three seasons as Head Coach of the University of Alberta (U of A) Golden Bears. Here are five things to know about the newest member of the Oilers coaching staff:
1. ONCE AN OILER, ALWAYS AN OILER
Ian Herbers is very familiar with the Edmonton Oilers organization. Despite being taken in the 10th round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Herbers made his professional debut in the Oilers organization. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defenceman made his pro debut for the American Hockey League’s Cape Breton Oilers during the 1992-93 season. He played 77 games that season for Cape Breton, scoring seven goals and adding 15 assists and 129 penalty minutes. The next year, Herbers made the jump to the NHL. He played 22 games for the 1993-94 Oilers, recording two assists and 32 penalty minutes.
Herbers played 89 more regular season games for Cape Breton before moving on to the IHL’s Detroit Vipers. He finished his professional career with 65 NHL games under his belt.
2. HE’S A WINNER
Herbers has a history of winning. With the Detroit Vipers, Herbers won the 1997 Turner Cup. Detroit returned to the final the next season but couldn’t repeat.
As Head Coach of the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs, Herbers went to the playoffs in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009. In his first and only action as Head Coach in the American Hockey League, Herbers helped lead the 2011-12 Milwaukee Admirals to a 30-23-6 record and a playoff appearance.
Herbers has enjoyed much success with the U of A over the last three seasons. The Golden Bears are the reigning two-time CIS National Champions thanks to Herbers’ tutelage. Herbers coached the Golden Bears to a record of 72-12-0 against conference opponents. The club was 12-1-0 in conference playoffs under Herbers and had a 7-1-0 record in CIS University Cup games. His overall record was 119-19-0.
He finishes his time at the U of A with three Canada West University Athletic Association titles. He also won the 1992 CIAU national title with the Golden Bears as a player.
3. ALBERTA BOY
Herbers is from Jasper, AB. He has been around Alberta hockey for parts of his career as well. He played 32 games for the WHL's Lethbridge Broncos in 1985-86. Following his junior career, Herbers played for the University of Alberta. In four years of college hockey, Herbers recorded 29 goals and 111 assists in 180 games, winning the 1992 national championship.
Herbers made his NHL debut in Edmonton on October 6, 1993 against the San Jose Sharks.
He played 22 games for the Oilers during his pro career and returned again to Alberta to coach his alma mater.
4. THEY MEET AGAIN
This won’t be the first time Herbers and McLellan will have worked together, but the first time was as a player and a coach. Herbers played under McLellan with the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks during the 2000-01 season.
McLellan was in his first season as a professional league Head Coach. Herbers was towards the end of his playing career. McLellan coached Cleveland to a 43-32-0-7 record that season. Herbers played 78 games and had 10 points (3-7-10).
McLellan went on to coach the AHL’s Houston Aeros that next season while Herbers went overseas to play in Great Britain.
5. HE WAS SOUGHT AFTER
Herbers wasn’t just interviewing for the Oilers position; he was considered a top candidate for the head coaching vacancy with the Kelowna Rockets.
“(The Oilers) hired him, so that was one off the list,” Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton told the Kelowna Daily Courier. “We were very high on him. He would’ve been a slam-dunk in my mind, but that’s the way it goes.”
Herbers chose to make the jump to the NHL, where he becomes the sixth Golden Bear to join the Oilers coaching staff. He adds his name to the list which consists of Clare Drake, Kevin Primeau, Billy Moores, Rob Daum and Dustin Schwartz.