Hurricanes hire Red Wings assistant as next head coach
Posted June 19
Raleigh, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday announced that they have hired Bill Peters, a Detroit Red Wings assistant for the last three seasons, as their next head coach.
Peters, 48, replaces Kirk Muller, who was fired in May after finishing the 2013-14 season 36-35-11. The Hurricanes have missed the playoffs in five straight years and seven of eight campaigns since winning the Stanley Cup at the end of the 2005-06 season.
Peters will be introduced Friday during a news conference at PNC Arena.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies Thursday that Peters is the right man for the job of getting the Hurricanes back to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
"We're trying to change the culture in our locker room. We want our players to be accountable, and we want the work ethic and compete level to be there every night," Francis said. "Bill is very detailed, very knowledgeable. He's been a head coach at different levels. He comes from a good organization."
Prior to joining the Red Wings staff to work on defense and penalty killing, Peters served as head coach of Rockford, Ill., an American Hockey League squad, from 2008-2010.
He led the IceHogs to consecutive 40-win seasons and Calder Cup appearances in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Twenty-eight of his AHL players reached the NHL level, and eight of them won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010 or 2013 – Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Henry, Antti Niemi, Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy, Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith.
Francis believes Peters can get 'Canes back to playoffs
Francis said the length of the coaching search – Muller's tenure ended in the first week of May – was due to the complexity of completing a coaching search, including waiting on some coaches who were still working during the NHL's playoffs.
"It's a long process in general. You have to do your homework. You put your list of guys you think should be considered, you narrow that list based on what you're looking for," he said. "If they are employed by other teams, you have to reach out to get permission to even contact that person. Once you get permission, you line up the interview process. This was the first time in this process for me, so I'm doing my homework and research. There are a lot of things that go into it."
Francis said the thorough process ended with the Hurricanes getting the right guy.
As for the team Peters will lead, Francis did not offer much in the way of detail about possible changes to the roster during the offseason.
"(Peters) likes our team. He believes in the guys we have in that locker room, and he thinks he can get us over the hump," Francis said. "Bill will come in with the mentality that this is his team and do everything he can to get us where we want to go."
One player in particular who will garner extra attention during the first season of the Peters era is captain Eric Staal, who had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2013-14. Staal tallied 61 points in 79 games, the fewest in a full season since he recorded 31 in 2003-04.
Francis said he's had three conversations with Eric Staal since the end of the season about what he needs to do to lead the Hurricanes back to the playoffs.
"We see things the same way. He is the key to our success. He has to be our leader on and off the ice. It comes in a lot of forms," Francis said. "He has to play the 200-foot game. He has to be the guy that is leading the way. We've had some conversations to that effect."
Peters' staff of assistants has not been announced, but Francis said Thursday that Rod Brind'Amour will be on it.
"The two of them will meet face-to-face to work out the details, but (Brind'Amour) will be part of the staff," Francis said. "Bill will have to find somebody to run the defending and goaltending portion going forward."
Peters and his wife, Denise, have two children, Aleze and Ayden.