Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who Is Bill Peters?

As word leaks out that a decision in a new coach will come soon, sources (like Josh Rimer) say the man in the crosshairs is Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters.  That's great, but who is he?

Peters, left, with the Red Wings

The kerfuffle coming into the season of change was that of the Penguins chasing after Mike Babcock.  Rumors came back and forth that the Penguins would find a way to work him out of his contract in Detroit and scoop him up.  To date those whispers have quieted, but the man to his left is now in the spotlight.

Bill Peters never played in the NHL.  Unlike prior coach Dan Bylsma, he was never a fourth line grinder.  Instead his playing career maxed out in the CHL where he recorded a goal and an assist in one game with the San Antonio Iguanas.  He jumped from there right to the coaching ranks.

Peters with the WHL's 
He spent some spotty years between 1996 and 2002 as the assistant coach for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.  He used that position to become coach, for a year, of the University of Lethbridge.  His results in the 2004-05 season were... not that great.  His team went 5-28-2 that year but despite this he used it to jump back to the WHL where he became head coach of the Chiefs.

Peters luck as a head coach improved greatly with the Chiefs.  His Chiefs went 111-82-23 from 2005-06 to 2007-08, with his team's win totals jumping each year from 25-36-50.  Included in that time period, the Chiefs winning the Ed Chenowyth Cup as WHL Champions.  From there it was up to the AHL.

While in the AHL Peters developed the Chicago Blackhawks young prospects, ones whose impacts have seen the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups.  With a 122-97-7-14 record in the AHL he oversaw the growth of players currently on the Blackhawks, or in the NHL, such as Brandon Bolig, Antti Niemi, Corey Crawford, Troy Brouwer, Bryan Bickell, Niklas Hjarlmarsson and more.

Bill Peters and Mike Babcock
In 2011 Peters was called up to the NHL where he's since served as assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings.  According to the Red Wings' bio of Peters his primary duties with the team include working with the team's defensemen and penalty killing units, something that reflects the Penguins unspoken desire to focus on structure and defense by improving the youth.

Peters also has international experience.  He served as head coach of Team Canada in the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.  There he coached his U-18 team to Gold.  The team contained such names as Jared Cowen, Brayden Schenn, Zach Kassian, Cody Eakin, Evander Kane, Matt Duchene, and current Penguin Simon Despres.

Peters may be the guy.  His record in working with youth, growing talent, and utilizing what he has is impressive.  If he's the choice he sounds like a sound, stern, and experienced person with which to bring aboard a growing team.  Right now, however, it's merely speculation.

By all accounts we will find out soon if Peters is The Guy.  If he is his background is impressive.  We all hope he's ready for the big time.  He's got a lot of work to do._________________________________________________________
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