(Sunrise) George Mumford saw the notification appear on his screen. The post on social media platform LinkedIn came from Edmonton Oilers CEO Jeff Jackson.

Hired by the club last August, the Oilers manager had an idea. Mumford was all ears.

Mumford, a 72-year-old sports psychologist and mental skills coach, previously helped lead Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers to the top of the NBA mountain.

Jackson wanted Mumford to do the same with Connor McDavid and the Oilers.

“We think you can help us win the Stanley Cup,” Mumford said of their first conversation. “And I said, ‘I’m in. »

Less than a year later, the Oilers are just a few steps away from that goal, but they face another daunting challenge.

Mumford has been behind the scenes throughout a roller-coaster campaign that included a disastrous 2-9-1 start, a coaching change, a 16-game winning streak and an up-and-down trek through three rounds of the NHL playoffs to the final against the Florida Panthers.

The Oilers played well in a 3-0 loss in the opening game before losing 4-1 on Monday. As a result, they will appear in front of their fans on Thursday, facing a deficit of two to zero in their best of seven series.

Mumford might need to dig deep into his reserves to get the Oilers out of this mess.

“My job is to help people be themselves,” the Boston native said in the hours leading up to part two. “There’s no better feeling than feeling like you are yourself. »

The author of two books, The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance and Unlocked: Embrace Your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success, Mumford is both a sounding board and a source of advice.

“I’m trying to help people break free and express themselves,” Mumford said. “When I talk about performance, I’m talking about something as profound as being able to win the Stanley Cup or just having an intention and being able to achieve that intention. »

McDavid said the addition of Mumford was welcome.

“We brought him in for that reason, to help in those big moments,” said the Oilers superstar and captain.

“He did a great job of being there for the guys, talking about the mindset in those pressure situations. Our guys did a great job playing through those big moments. (Mumford) had a lot to do with that. »

Mumford clarified that his overall message revolves around the “enormous potential” inside every person.

“Only you can access it,” he continued. “To the extent that you access it, you’re going to help everyone. But you will be able to live fully and creatively, whether it’s a sport or something else. »

Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch first met Mumford after he took over behind the Oilers bench in November.

“With players in this era, there’s so much emphasis on the modern player on practice and developing skills and systems,” he said. “There’s so much neglect on the mental side of the game. George filled that void, talking to the players about what it takes for each individual on the team to play well. Trying to get those players in that right frame of mind.”

Mumford, for example, was there for goalie Stuart Skinner in the second round against the Vancouver Canucks when he was replaced by Calvin Pickard for two games.

“Massive help to help me refocus,” Skinner said. “He’s an amazing guy. »

Mumford was in the background for much of the campaign, but celebrated on the ice with the Oilers after their victory over the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final.

Zach Hyman called him “the team’s secret weapon.” »

“It really helped us with the way we thought about the game,” the Edmonton winger said. “It’s great because it’s not hockey specific; it’s specific to sport, it’s specific to life. »