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Former Flames' head coach Bill Peters named new coach of Lethbridge Hurricanes

The Western Hockey League's (WHL) Lethbridge Hurricanes have hired Bill Peters as the team's new head coach, more than three years after he resigned from the Calgary Flames in disgrace.

It’s a full circle moment for Peters, whose first head coaching job came with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

"I'm humbled about the opportunity to return to coaching in the western hockey league and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. It is a first class organization in a world class league," said Peters.

"We are very excited," said Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes' general manager in a statement on Wednesday.

"His previous time in the WHL, which included a Memorial Cup championship in 2008, along with his experience coaching in Lethbridge with the Pronghorns, put him at the top of our candidate list."

Peters served as head coach for both the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames between 2014 and 2019 and also served as assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings between 2011 and 2014.

Prior to his time in the NHL, he was the head coach for the American Hockey League's (AHL) Rockford Icehogs and Spokane Chiefs.

"Peters has coached and represented Canada at various levels, including the U17 and U18, capturing a gold medal at the 2009 Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament," officials said.

"Peters also served as an assistant coach once and head Coach twice for the men's world championships, capturing two gold medals (2015, 2016) and a silver medal (2017)."

He also served as assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.


Peters left the Flames on Nov. 29, 2019, when a former player with the Icehogs, Akim Aliu, said he "committed an act of anti-Black racism" against him.

The Hurricanes say since that time, he's completed a certification program for diversity, equity and inclusion through Shades of Humanity Consulting, along with leadership training, cultural development strategies, anti-racism education and equity-informed policy changes.

"I have worked closely with Shades of Humanity to understand and correct my regrettable actions," Peters said in a statement. "I have learned a lot through this educational journey and feel ready to return to coaching.

"I am in a unique position to guide our next generation of community leaders and to establish a more inclusive culture in hockey."

WHL Commissioner Ron Robison says he felt this was enough for Peters to earn a chance to coach in the league.

"We focused on Bill's training and program, and we felt that was really important and that the apology should follow that and that was part of the discussion we had with both the agency and Bill," he said.

Aliu says he is not pleased to see that Peters will be coaching again.

The former NHL player said that Peters only tried to reach out for an apology last week through a third party.

"To see a guy that has a history of being racist and abusive to players in and around the league, the National Hockey League, to get an opportunity like this around impressionable teenagers is really difficult to see," Aliu said in an interview with TSN.

While the two haven't met face to face for an apology, Peters did apologize to Aliu during his introductory press conference.

An emotional Peters said, "To Akim, I apologize. I now recognize the impact, I was uneducated in my use of inappropriate language. I take ownership of my actions and regret my choice of words."

Peters will be replacing head coach Brent Kisio, who took on a role with the AHL Henderson Silver Knights, the affiliate for the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights.

The Hurricanes open training camp on Aug. 31. Top Stories

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