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Flames hire Peters as coach

Replaces Gulutzan after Calgary misses playoffs

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Bill Peters was hired as coach of the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Peters, who resigned as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, received a multiyear contract. He replaces Glen Gulutzan, who was fired April 17 after the Flames missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons.

"I look forward to working with the players that are already here in place and the people in the pipelines that are coming," Peters said. "I think it's a very good team and a team that's set up to win and to play the modern game. The majority of the core is still in their prime and still has room to grow, a higher ceiling to reach. It's just an exciting group."

Video: Bill Peters on being named head coach of the Flames

The Flames were 37-35-10, fifth in the Pacific Division, and missed the playoffs by 11 points after qualifying last season, Gulutzan's first as coach. Calgary's home record of 17-20-4 was the fourth worst in the NHL, and its power play (16.0 percent) was tied for 28th. The Flames also scored an NHL-low 61 third-period goals.

Peters was the only person interviewed to replace Gulutzan.

"At the time we made the decision for a change last week, I had gone and asked for permission to speak with Carolina regarding Bill's availability, and I want to thank the Carolina Hurricanes for their cooperation in that process," general manager Brad Treliving said. "We were able to move forward with Bill."

Peters and Treliving have worked together before. Peters coached Canada to the gold medal at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, with Treliving serving as co-GM.

"There's some great candidates out there," Treliving said. "This wasn't one based upon hiring a friend, per se. Bill and I don't have a long relationship; we had a situation where we worked together over a small period of time. But you do your homework. This is somebody I believe fully in. This is somebody I have been around enough to know, the network of people I talked to, to not formalize a thought but solidify a thought I got.

"Ultimately, my job isn't to necessarily do what's politically right or what's safe. My job is to do what I feel, and have the conviction of making the decision that is best for the hockey club. I have nothing but belief Bill is going to come in here and do a phenomenal job."

Video: The crew on Bill Peters being named Flames head coach

Peters had one year remaining on his contract before exercising his opt-out clause with Carolina. The Hurricanes were 137-138-53 and did not qualify for the playoffs during his four seasons as coach.

The expectation is for him to get the Flames back into the postseason.

"You have to be hungrier," said Peters, who will coach Canada at the 2018 World Championship in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, from May 4-20. "That's no problem. I have no issue with that. We're going to set realistic expectations and they're going to be high. Expectations are great to have.

"If you have high expectations, that means you're legitimate. You're in the hunt. You don't want to be in a situation where there are no expectations, there are no demands, because it means you aren't close enough. This group is right there."

Video: Friedman on Bill Peters, the Hurricanes and more

Peters hopes to balance that expectation with enthusiasm.

"I want the rink to be a destination that you're looking forward to coming to work," he said. "It's fun. We play a kid's game. We're fortunate. We're truly blessed, everybody in the National Hockey League. Why can't we have fun doing it? Why can't we be demanding without being demeaning. I want guys to come to the rink, I want guys to get out of bed excited about coming, getting out on the ice and making each other better."

Peters, born in Three Hills, Alberta, 80 miles northeast of Calgary, was hired six days after Gulutzan was fired.

"That's not to be reckless or not look and talk to and interview a number of candidates," Treliving said of the quick hiring. "I was very familiar with the field that was out there. There are some great candidates. I was focused on Bill.

"I think he's going to be a tremendous addition to our staff."

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