The Carolina Hurricanes named Bill Peters their new coach on Friday afternoon. Here's a full transcript of Peters' news conference:
General manager Ron Francis:
“Bill is an energetic guy, has an extensive coaching background, been a head coach in the Western Hockey League for the Spokane Chiefs, where he won a Memorial Cup. He also spent three years as a head coach in the American Hockey League in the Chicago Blackhawks organization, and most recently has been three years an assistant coach in the Detroit Red Wings. Along the way Bill has helped develop many NHL players. His hiring comes at the end of an extensive search that also interviewed a lot of qualified people.
“Bill was highly sought after and I am thrilled he chose to join our organization and I’m confident that we have the right person to leads the Canes going forward. He is organized, detailed, demands accountability and a high compete level from his players. He is also a good communicator and teacher.
“All attributes we thought were important for our next head coach to possess. He also comes from winning cultures. And I personally am excited to start working together with Bill to build a Stanley Cup contender here in Raleigh. So without further ado I’d like to introduce you to the next head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, Bill Peters.”
Canes coach Bill Peters:
“Well thank you, thanks for all being here. I’d like to thank Mr. [Peter] Karmanos and Mr. Ron Francis, here, for the decision they made to bring me to Raleigh. I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the rest of our management group. I think Ron has put together a very good staff here. I had a really good visit this morning with Rod Brind’Amour, I’m really excited to get to know him better and get started.
“It’s an exciting time here in Raleigh and for the Carolina Hurricanes. We are going to have a hockey team that is a competitive hockey team. We know where our challenges lay, but we’re excited about the challenges. We are going to set the bar high, we’re going to give our fans something they can be proud of and something they’ll want to watch each and every night.
“Right now, for me, it’s a great opportunity for me and my family. My family is more than pleased to be coming to this area. Our phones have been ringing off the hook not only with congratulations but also with ‘and it’s a great area,’ so I think my wife and kids are going to be busy entertaining people as we are going to be busy winning hockey games.”
Question: Do you have a length of contract?
“It’s a three-year contract.”
Can you name roughly how many candidates you interviewed for the job. How many had more than one interview?
“It’s a pretty extensive search. You get your staff together and you put together your full list and you try and pair it down and look at guys who you think sort of fit your requirements. We did interview 10 guys, we got our short list down to probably three. And then again we are really excited to get Bill as a part of our organization because he was the guy we wanted and we are glad we got him.”
What was it about this team and this challenge that made it appealing to you?
“Well, first off we started down this road back on May 20th. … And as we got into the second interview I got to meet a lot more of the management and staff and some of the people and it’s just very comforting with the communication we’ve had over the past four weeks.
“But when I did my due diligence and went to look at rosters in the teams that I was interviewing for, we’re not far off. I like our depth down the middle, I think we have a great one pair in Sekera and Faulk. Obviously we know where our challenges lay, if we can fix our power play and be a better team at home and get off to better starts in games we are going to be a very competitive team. So what we are going to focus on is our attention to detail, and the system and the structure is going to protect the individual. So I think there’s lots of pieces here and it’s up to us as coaches and our coaching staff, once we finalize it, to max our group out.”
How many teams did you end up interviewing with?
Was the interview just strictly you asking Bill questions, or is there a more creative process?
“To be totally honest with you, going in to it I had never done one before. So it takes me a little time to do some homework. Fortunately for me I have a lot of friends who are coaches around the League, so you contact them trying to get a feel for how the process goes.
“ I’ve talked to different general managers on some of the things that they went through but there is a lot of things. You want to try and get to know the person, the way he thinks about the game, how it should be played, what he thinks about your personnel, how he would deal in certain different situations. Then you start getting a little more technical as to his thoughts on an offensive system, a neutral zone system, a D-zone system, what are your thoughts on special teams. It gets very detailed, very comprehensive, but as I said right from the start it’s something that is so important for your hockey team you have to take the time and make sure you go through it and make sure you get the right guy and that’s what we did.”
What exactly will you do to make players accountable?
“I have the ultimate hammer as a coach and the hammer is the ice time. If they all want ice time, they all feel they deserve more ice time, they all want to play in the situations as matches or skill set then I’m all for that as long as your giving me the thinks that I need in the work ethic, the play away from the puck, the attention to detail, and that’s the perfect marriage when it all comes together.
“When it doesn’t all come together I’ve got to swing the hammer and then that’s when the ice time fluctuates. That’s my ultimate weapon is the ice time. But I want to make players comfortable. I want them to succeed. I’m going to put them in positions to succeed and if they follow the template, the structure that we’re going to play with they will be successful.
“We’ve got lots of good quality players here but we just got to give them a little bit of guidance and let them know where they can negotiate, what’s negotiable, what’s not negotiable. The work ethic part of it is not negotiable. You look at around the league at any team that’s any good, they are some of the hardest playing teams in the league. So that’s where it starts.”
What sort of identity do you want this team to have?
“I want to be a hard-working team, obviously, and every coach is going to tell you that but there’s work ethic indicators as coaches that we can pick up on in the game, postgame, watching the video breaking down the chances, for and against, and everything else.
“I want to make sure we’re responsible with and without the puck, and we’ll go through that in training camp through the exhibition season and the guys will know what’s expected and the guys than can deliver and play and do it on a consistent basis are going to be the guys going out over the wall and getting the opportunity.”
Now that you’ve got your coach, is it just going to be tweaks in the personnel or is this going to be a major makeover with the team?
“No, I don’t foresee a major makeover. As Bill mentioned we’ve got some pretty good pieces in place. I know it has been frustrating. We haven’t made the playoffs in five years. We just finished outside by 10 points, that’s one win a month over the course of the season. We may do a few things, we’ve got some toxins? We’ve got to get done and some of our UFAs and group twos and contract situation. But we believe we’ve got a pretty good group here that can compete and win, so there’s no real need at this point to make the major overhauls in my eyes.”
Through your progression in coaching at the Canadian university level, the minor leagues and in to the NHL, what have you learned most in helping you develop as a coach and to be ready for this position. And what about the players progressed over that period of time, the last 10 of 15 years? What’s different, the same, and how do you use that to motivate and get the best out of all levels of players?
“You have to communicate. We’re going to have a roster of 23 people so basically, in my opinion, you have 23 independent contractors that you got to deal with but you’ve got to deal with them in a team setting. So the art of communication is important, more important than it was 10-15 years ago. We coach people, they play hockey. It’s the millennials and they’re an intelligent group, they’re an educated group, and they are going to ask questions and they want to know why.
“Ten, 20 years ago as an athlete you didn’t ask why, you just went out and did it. Now they ask why and as a coach you have to explain why and you’ve got a more complete buy-in in my opinion. The art of communication is important and the preparation is definitely needed. Your team will know if you’re prepared.”
When they ask why does that sometimes get to a point where you are a little frustrated?
“No, I think it’s great because usually you get really good feedback, intelligent questions, and if they’re asking the questions it’s because they’re unsure or they want a deeper understanding. So as a coach, you better have the answer when they ask why don’t be surprised and the questions coming your way, but you better have the answer and the better be correct and consistently delivered.”
You are coming from some of the most consistently successful programs, with Chicago and Detroit. What have you learned working with those two organizations and what do you bring to this job as part of your philosophy?
“I went to Chicago in ’09 and if you go back in ’07, ’08 or ’09 that is really when the transition happened in Chicago and it happened for various reasons, on and off the ice. So that was a program at that time that wasn’t drawing well, that wasn’t on public television, and some changes were made and all of a sudden the energy was built up, some momentum, and then you see the maturation of Kane and Toews and Duncan Keith and some others. They did a great job in drafting and developing players and all of a sudden now you’ve got a perennial power.
“In Detroit, it’s more of an established tradition of excellence, again an original six hockey team. What we had in Detroit were guys that were every-dayers, they came every day and laid it on the line. They worked. They competed. They’re professionals. Just because you come out a junior of college and start drawing out a paycheck doesn’t make you a professional in my opinion, it’s when you start to eat, the nutrition, to look after your body, you train. … that’s what makes you a professional. So, we’re here with our young guys, when we have prospect camp here later in July, is to show them the way to become a professional. And with our existing professionals it’s about holding them accountable. We’re going to catch them doing it right and we’re going to be appreciative of them doing it right.”
As a first time NHL Head coach will that influence the way you think about the assistance you hire?
“I’m going to have more respect for my assistants than most guys would. They’re huge, they work and they’re grinding. They’re bringing me the information. We’re going to have a good staff, we’re going to have a hard-working staff and we’re going to teach the game and bring people along. We’ve got some young pros, the Ryan Murphys, the Lind Holms of the world, that they’re in the NHL but they’ve got to develop here. They’re not finished products and we know that and we’ve got to help them reach their full potential.”
You were a highly sought after commodity. Why do you think that is? And you’ve spoken of the positives of this team, but clearly something has been flawed, what needs fixing with this roster?
“I think I was highly sought after, if I was, because not a lot of people were in the pool this year. But I don’t know, I’m not going to answer that question, ask other people that I don’t know that. But your last question was what needed to be fixed, so in preparation for the interview I did a little bit of a project for the Carolina Hurricanes, and got to know the organization better by that project.
“For the second interview I did a further project, and the three things that jump out, that we have to fix, flat out have to if we’re going to be successful, and we are, we’re going to fix our power play. We have enough skill to have a good power play. We’re going to fix our starts to games. If you’re playing from behind in the NHL and you’re anybody but the L.A. Kings you’re losing. You’ve got to get out of the gate on time. So we’ve got to start. We’ve got to be a 60-minute team that has a good power play and we’ve got to improve our home record. No question about that. We have to become a harder team to play against here in Raleigh.”
Could you describe the style or system that you want to play with the team?
“I want to have the puck. Everybody is going to coach to whatever their strengths are. But if you’re not good defensively in the National Hockey League and you don’t know how to play in your own end, you know what end you play in. You never get out of your own end. And it’s that ‘here they come again’ feeling. You hit the red line and they are right back and they are just down your throat. We call that being ‘half-iced’ and you never get to go play in the offensive zone. So in order to be a good hockey team you got to be good in the defensive zone, you’ve got to be efficient, you’ve got to be able to get through the neutral zone and go have fun in the offensive zone. That’s where everyone makes their money and wants to be.
“But in order to get the opportunity to play in the offensive zone, you better have the other two zones looked after. So we’re going to be a team that can skate, and we’re going to be a team that controls the neutral zone if we do it right and we’re going to be able to spend some time in the offensive zone therefore allowing us to generate more scoring chances and goals, and that’s another thing that we’ve got to do. We’ve got to score more goals. We haven’t scored enough goals here in Carolina to match what our talent level is. So there’s ways to go about that. And we’re going to get our D-men in the rush, and we’re going to play up-temp, exciting games that the fans of this region are going to enjoy watching.”
As a new coach how do you set that level of respect and get the players to get on board with your philosophies?
“We’re going to be organized. Training camp goes by in a flash, so when we get out on the ice we’re going to go. We’re not going to the white board, we’re going to get out there and get our drills and get our pace of practiced picked up. I don’t know what it was but I think the pace of practice is going to be very high, allowing us to play how we practice with pace.
“So the respect is earned over time. I don’t expect instant respect from everybody. I’ll get on the phone today and start making calls and building relationships with our players and respect will be earned both ways over time.”
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