RALEIGH, N.C. -- After a 45-day search, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis Thursday named Bill Peters, a relatively unknown assistant for the Detroit Red Wings, the team's new head coach.
Peters, 49, will be introduced Friday in a news conference in Raleigh. He is expected to jump-start a Carolina team that hasn't made the NHL playoffs since 2009.
"I'm looking forward to getting started," Peters said. "I'm going in with an open mind but I have a lot of ideas about how we can become better and we will be."
Peters will be the Canes' fourth different coach since the franchise moved to North Carolina in 1997 and third in the past five seasons.
Peters' former boss in Detroit, Mike Babcock, has no doubt the Hurricanes hired the right coach.
He said it's not a question of whether Peters, who worked for Babcock the past three seasons with the Red Wings, will be successful in his first NHL head coaching job.
"It's not he could be, he will be," Babcock said. "He's a hockey guy and real good coach. It's a big loss for us."
Peters, who was also a successful junior and minor-league head coach, replaces Kirk Muller, who was dismissed by Francis on May 5. Barring a roster overhaul, Peters will be dealing with many of the same players Muller couldn't cajole a playoff appearance out of in three seasons.
"I like a lot of the pieces we already have in place," Peters said.
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, the Canes have made the playoffs only once in eight seasons.
That's why one of the first attributes Francis stressed Thursday was motivation.
"He's a guy that understands accountability and how to bring out the best effort in a team every night," Francis said Thursday.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Peters fits the bill of a no-nonsense coach.
"Bill has a lot of passion for hockey, for coaching," Holland said Thursday. "He'll hold people accountable and he has a great work ethic."
Peters was also a candidate for the head coaching jobs with the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Francis said Peters' passion and knowledge of the game help offset his lack of NHL coaching experience.
"He's a teacher and he's passionate about the job," Francis said. "When you put it all together, I think he fits all the criteria."
Peters grew up in the southern part of the province of Alberta in the town of Three Hills, which is between Calgary and Edmonton. His professional playing career, which was cut short by injuries, consisted of one game in the Central Hockey League in 1994-95.
He started his coaching career at 30 in major junior hockey, as an assistant to Babcock with the Spokane Chiefs in the Western Hockey League in 1996. He was an assistant for the Chiefs for four seasons and then the head coach for the University of Lethbridge for one season before becoming the Chiefs' head coach in 2005.
In 2008, Peters led the Chiefs to 50 wins and the Memorial Cup title. He moved on to the minor-league level, with the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League, until 2011. Eight players he helped develop in Rockford helped the Chicago Blackhawks win a pair of Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and 2013.
Francis, who was promoted to general manager on April 28, was willing to be patient during the search to find the right coach.
Francis said he met with Peters three times, first on May 20, and again on Wednesday.
Peters, who will fly into Raleigh on Friday morning, said he's ready to get to work.
Babcock said the Canes have hired a winner.
"He just knows hockey," Babcock said. "He makes players better and he does things right."
(c)2014 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at www.newsobserver.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services