08/21/2008 7:00 PM
Chicago Blackhawks General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard formally introduced new IceHogs Head Coach Bill Peters at a press conference on Thursday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rockford.
- The IceHogs new coach returns from Slovakia to spend his first week in Rockford
IceHogs fans can tell already that the relationship between Rockford and new Head Coach Bill Peters is going to be a family affair.
When he told his two kids that he was taking the job in Rockford, his nine-year-old daughter, Aleze, was initially upset to move from her home in Spokane, Wash. But a couple of days later, she said she had thought about it and told her dad that she knew how much he wanted to win the Stanley Cup, so she was fine with moving to Rockford.
For Peters, who worked under 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Head Coach Mike Babcock as an assistant in Spokane (WHL), the step between Canadian juniors and the National Hockey League is Rockford.
And for the Chicago Blackhawks, it was obvious right away that they knew they wanted Peters leading their young prospects in Rockford.
“It was pretty apparent to Dale (Tallon, general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks) and I that this was the guy for us,” Chicago Blackhawks Assistant General Manager Stan Bowman said of meeting Peters during the coaching search. “He’s got the charisma and the character that makes you want to be around him.”
That interview earlier this summer took place on Peters’ wedding anniversary.
On just his third day in Rockford after returning to the United States from Slovakia earlier this week, Peters said he is looking forward to making the jump to the AHL. For the last three weeks, Peters was the head coach of the Canadian Under-18 National Team that beat Russia for the Gold Medal at the 2008 Memorial for Ivan Hlinka tournament on Saturday.
This is his first year in the American Hockey League after coaching for eight seasons in the Canadian juniors.
“There is going to be some changes and adjustments for sure,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the game is the game.”
Thursday’s event was also the first public appearance for new Chicago Blackhawks General Manager of Minor League Affiliates Mark Bernard. He took the occasion to explain why the position was added.
“It allows our coaching staff to focus on one thing – and that’s winning,” he said.