Carolina Hurricanes hire Bill Peters as head coach

Bill Peters, shown here alongside Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, was hired as the head coach of the Hurricanes on Thursday. - USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday announced that they have hired an NHL assistant coach as their new head coach.

But it wasn't the one everyone had their eye on.

Bill Peters, who spent the past three years on the bench alongside Mike Babcock with the Detroit Red Wings, was announced as the Hurricanes' fourth head coach on Thursday afternoon.  Peters, 48, was also on the coaching radars of the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins, and won the job over GM Ron Francis' old teammate and current Rangers assistant Ulf Samuelsson, who has also been linked with the Penguins' job.

Peters coached the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL afilliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, for three seasons between 2008 and 2011, and eight players from Peters' time in Rockford have their names on the Stanley Cup through Chicago's wins in 2010 and 2013.  Before that, Peters was the coach of the WHL Spokane Chiefs for three seasons, winning the 2008 Memorial Cup, and served under Babcock when the latter was the Spokane head coach in 1997 and again from 1999-2002.

Peters will be introduced at a noon press conference Friday at PNC Arena.

The release from the team is below.  Watch for more coverage here on Canes Country over the coming days.

HURRICANES HIRE BILL PETERS AS HEAD COACH
Alberta native will be introduced during Friday news conference

RALEIGH, NC - Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that Bill Peters has been named the team's head coach. Peters will be the 13th man to serve as head coach for the franchise, and the fourth since the team's arrival in North Carolina. Francis will introduce Peters during a news conference on Friday at noon in PNC Arena's Varsity Club, which will stream live on CarolinaHurricanes.com.

Peters, 48, has served as assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings for the past three seasons, working primarily with Detroit's defensemen and penalty kill units. Prior to joining Detroit's staff, Peters served as head coach of Rockford of the American Hockey League (AHL), guiding the Ice Hogs to consecutive 40-win seasons and Calder Cup playoff appearances in 2008-09 and 2009-10. In his final season with Rockford in 2010-11, Peters directed the second-youngest team in the AHL to a 38-33-4-5 record. The Three Hills, Alb., native helped 28 Rockford players reach the NHL during his three seasons. Eight players who played under Peters for Rockford went on to win 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.

Before beginning his AHL coaching career, Peters spent three seasons with Spokane of the Western Hockey League (WHL), leading the Chiefs to the Memorial Cup title in 2008 as champions of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Spokane established franchise records with 50 wins and 107 points that season before winning 16 of 21 WHL playoff games to capture the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions. Peters then guided the Chiefs to four consecutive victories at the Memorial Cup, topping the host Kitchener Rangers 4-1 in the championship game. In three seasons as Spokane's head coach, Peters compiled a career WHL regular-season record of 111-82-23.

Peters got his first experience as a head coach at the University of Lethbridge, serving as the Proghorns' head coach for three seasons from 2002-2005. Prior to that, he served as assistant coach for Spokane for four seasons, helping the Chiefs to a 47-win, 100-point campaign and the WHL Western Conference championship in 1999-00 under current Red Wings' head coach Mike Babcock.

Peters also has gained international head coaching experience for Canada, capturing the gold medal at the 2008 U-18 Junior World Cup. His career coaching statistics are below.

Bill Peters’ Career Head Coaching Record

YEAR                 TEAM              LEAGUE     GP         W         L    T/OT     PCT.

2005-06            Spokane        WHL            72         25       39       8         .403

2006-07            Spokane        WHL            72         36       28       8         .556

2007-08            Spokane        WHL            72         50       15       7         .743

2008-09            Rockford        AHL              80         40       34       6         .538

2009-10            Rockford        AHL              80         44       30       6         .588

2010-11            Rockford        AHL              80         38       33       9         .531

AHL Totals (3 Seasons)                             240       122      97     21        .552

WHL Totals (3 Seasons)                           216       111      82     23        .567

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