When Mark Lamb’s unknown Prince George number came up on Carter Rigby’s phone, he almost didn’t answer it.
It was 10 minutes before the Osoyoos Coyotes Head Coach was going to begin practice, but Rigby had been recruiting players from Prince George “so I may as well have a quick chat with whoever is calling” he said.
Once Rigby discovered it was his former Swift Current Broncos Head Coach, Rigby was hoping Lamb was calling to offer him a stud 16- or 17-year-old player. Instead, Lamb wanted to find out if Rigby was interested in his vacant Assistant Coach position with the WHL Prince George Cougars. Rigby played for Lamb with the Swift Current Broncos in his final junior hockey season in 2014-15. After finding out everything he needed to know, Rigby accepted the position late last week, signing a three-year contract on Thursday.
“Carter played for me and has an infectious personality that will fit in with our group,” said Lamb in a Cougars press release. “He’s done a great job with Osoyoos and is ready for this opportunity.”
Rigby is grateful for the chance as it’s been a goal of his to reach the WHL for the last few years.
“I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled and excited to be in the Western Hockey League now, right where I wanted to be and with familiar faces too, which is very key,” said Rigby.
Making this jump in his coaching career did come quicker than Rigby anticipated, saying he thought maybe it would take five to 10 years.
Rigby, 28, spent five seasons (2009-10, 2011-2015) playing in the WHL for the Cougars, Kelowna Rockets, and Broncos. He was drafted in the eighth round, 158th overall in the 2009 WHL Prospect’s Draft by the Cougars.
“I just can’t wait to soak it all in and make the most of it,” he said.
Rigby believes the success he enjoyed in Osoyoos came from the players feeling comfortable talking to him, taking advantage of his open door policy. Along with his family support, Rigby credits John DePourcq for being a mentor and great leader for him. DePourcq brought him on as an Assistant Coach with the Summerland Steam for three years and was instrumental in Rigby landing the Coyotes coaching position.
“Just learning from him was great,” said Rigby.
The opportunity to coach in Osoyoos was great, as he had help turning the program around. Rigby added that coaching in the KIJHL is a “great stepping stone for young coaches.”
“I just hope that a lot of other coaches in the league that are around my age or even younger, see this and are a little inspired by it. Chase their dream of coaching wherever it might be,” said Rigby, who is thankful to Osoyoos and owner Randy Bedard for giving him the opportunity and letting him run with it. “Without the KIJHL and Summerland and Osoyoos, I definitely wouldn’t be here for sure.”