Jack Lambert moved from Fairbanks, Alaska to Everett, Washington in hopes of earning a Western Hockey League contract. In fact, he hoped to earn a contract with the Everett Silvertips.
Last week, Lambert realized that goal.
The ’03-born forward signed a standard player contract with the Everett Silvertips after playing last season for the Jr. Silvertips 15U team in the NAPHL. Lambert led that team in scoring last season with 10 points (6g-4a) in 12 games and then added four points (3g-1a) in four playoff games; he was the Jr. Silvertips leading goal scorer in the regular season and the playoffs.
Our scouts last saw Lambert at USA Hockey’s Select-16 camp this summer, where he had three points (1g-2a) in five games for Team Forest.
“Lambert is a hard-working, honest forward who is physical and balanced in the dirty areas,” our scouts noted. “He is strong on his skates and is willing to take a hit to make a play. He did a nice job spinning and getting of checks in the corners to get to the net-front or make passes to the slot area. He has a swift saucer pass that he showed on the breakout and on the rush on short passes just to get over a stick blade. He scored a nice one-touch goal driving the net and using his hard stick to jam it home. Relentless on puck pursuits and takes the right angles and smart stick placement to force play.”
Lambert was interviewed by Neutral Zone this week to talk about his commitment to Everett and more …
NZ: Congratulations on signing with Everett. What was your reaction like when they offered you a contract?
Lambert: “I was waiting for it all week. I was getting a little anxious. It was the first day of practice and they called me in the room with (Everett GM) Mr. (Garry) Davidson and he offered me a contract. I was really excited. It was the best thing in the world as a hockey player, getting offered that contract. Nothing could be better.”
NZ: It has to be cool as well, having played with the Jr. Silvertips, to sign with an organization you’ve been familiar with for a while.
Lambert: “It makes me feel at home here. The guys here made me feel like part of the family right away.”
NZ: It’s been a short time, but what have been some of the biggest things you’ve learned so far? What have been some of the biggest adjustments you’ve seen in your game?
Lambert: “You have to limit mental mistakes at this level. Having come here after being 15, I definitely have to get quicker and think a lot quicker. It’s still something I’m working on.”
NZ: How has it been in the locker room? Has the leadership group and the older guys helped integrate you into the team?
Lambert: “Definitely. All of the older guys have been great and have helped me a lot. They’re teaching me and some of the other younger guys how to handle the little things on the ice but especially off the ice. They’re a great example on how to act as a person off the ice and how to carry yourself like a pro.”
NZ: Growing up in Fairbanks, did you ever think this was possible? Was there a point in your youth career where you thought you could potentially make a jump like this?
Lambert: “I’ve always wanted to be a hockey player. My second-year peewee, when I made the major team — there’s no Triple-A up in Fairbanks — so when I made the major team, that gave me a ton of confidence.
“But then the next year I actually played house hockey, but that year I played for a coach that was probably my favorite coach and he did a ton for me; Warren Moore. I played Single-A hockey as a first-year bantam. I had a lot of doubts in my head about my game and he kept me on track and kept pushing me really hard. Then the next year I made the Triple-A team in Anchorage, for the North Stars. That really made me believe, and know, that if hockey was something I worked really hard at, I could play at a high level.
“At first, I didn’t want to be (in house hockey) because I had played majors the year before, but he challenged me right away and he’s the best coach I’ve ever had. Practices were really hard and he always made sure I was finishing the drills. He wanted me backchecking all the time and if I wasn’t, he would get on me and I’d have pushups to do. He pushed me super hard, but it got me to another level.”
NZ: What are some of the things you’re looking forward to most this year?
Lambert: “Winning games. That’s my favorite thing to do. I hate losing. I hate losing games more than I like winning games. Losing games is the worst feeling in the world.”
NZ: What do you see as some of your strengths right now?
Lambert: “I think I’m a non-stop player. I’m never going to give up on a play. I’m always going at guys. I pressure hard and I try to get to pucks first.”
NZ: On the flip side of that, where are some of the areas you’re looking to improve this year?
Lambert: “Definitely my quickness and my mental thinking. I’d also like to play a more physical game.”