The wait is over. On Thursday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they have signed Bill Peters as their new head coach. Bill Peters, 49, was the assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the past three seasons, serving alongside Mike Babcock. Peters also coached the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL to a Memorial Cup and served as the head coach of the Rockford Icehogs in the AHL for several seasons.
I am pleased to say that I think the Hurricanes definitely got it right with this choice. Although young for a NHL head coach, Bill Peters has an abundance of experience in all leagues; he has experienced success at the WHL, AHL, and NHL level. Helping coach the best franchise in the NHL in the Detroit Red Wings doesn’t hurt either.
Not only will Peters bring a whole new perspective to an organization that is eager for a turnaround, but he will also bring a winning attitude that is desperately needed inside the locker room. Coaching alongside Mike Babcock and working with star players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Niklas Kronwall, should help Peters rebuild the culture of the Carolina Hurricanes.
For the past few years, the Canes have had many issues with their roster. Players have not played up to their full potential, depth has been missing, and special teams have been horrible. With the hiring of Bill Peters, players such as Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Alexander Semin can hopefully start producing at the rate their contracts demand.
According to Mike Babcock, accountability and a high compete level are two of the many attributes that Bill Peters brings; attributes that have disappeared when the Hurricanes have taken the ice the past several seasons.
As I watched Friday’s noon press conference, which introduced Bill Peters, I couldn’t help but notice his passion for the game and his ‘play hard or don’t play’ attitude. He continually expressed his desire to make the Hurricanes a better home team and his willingness to teach and explain his new system. Unlike previous coaches I’ve heard, Peters seems well aware of where this team is at and what they really need to focus on in order to become better.
On a side note, the hiring of Bill Peters gave me confidence in Ron Francis and his future as GM. I must admit I was a little pessimistic about Francis when he was hired just because he had been working closely with Jim Rutherford for the past several seasons. I heard numerous rumors linking the Carolina Hurricanes to Ulf Samuelsson as the new head coach as well. Not that Ulf would have been a poor choice, but if he was hired, I would not have been able to say that Ron Francis made a fair choice, due to his close friendship with Samuelsson. However, the process of finding a new coach was done very carefully by Francis, as over ten candidates were interviewed. You have to give him credit for this decision and hope that this signals a positive future for the Canes.
Although there is a lot of work still to be done, Bill Peters is a welcome addition to the Carolina Hurricanes organization. I am confident that come October, the Hurricanes will look like a different team on the ice.