The Philadelphia Flyers on Friday named Ian Laperriere as director of player development and hired former Los Angeles Kings coach Terry Murray to coach their American Hockey League team, the Adirondack Phantoms.
"We are pleased to add Ian to our staff as director of player development," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "Ian will work closely with all of our young prospects in the system from skill development to fitness to nutrition. We feel that Ian's experiences and enthusiasm for life and the game of hockey make him the perfect man for this important role."
Laperriere, 38, announced his retirement as a player earlier this month after sitting out the past two seasons due to post-concussion issues. He spent 16 seasons in the NHL with the Blues, Rangers, Kings, Avalanche and Flyers, totaling 121 goals, 336 points and 1,956 penalty minutes in 1,083 games.
Laperriere never was the same player after being hit in the right side of his face by a puck while trying to block a shot in Game 5 of the Flyers' 2010 first-round series against the New Jersey Devils. He suffered a cut that needed 70 stitches to close, a non-displaced orbital bone fracture and a brain contusion. He missed a month and returned to play in the Stanley Cup Final, but post-concussion issues kept him from playing afterward.
He's spent most of the past two seasons working unofficially with Flyers prospects, and Friday's announcement formalizes his new position with the organization.
"It's a job that suits me well," Laperriere said. "It's one of those jobs that you need a relationship with the young guys and you need to have some experience, and I think I have both. I've always been able to relate well with anybody, from 18-year-old kids to 40-year-old veterans -- it's always been one of my strengths, so I'm going to use that with these young guys. I'll do the best I can to help all our prospects be successful. It's a challenge for me and I'm looking forward to it."
Murray, 61, was in his fourth season with the Kings when he was relieved of his duties Dec. 12 with the team 13-12-4 and 12th in the Western Conference. Under his replacement, Darryl Sutter, the Kings won the Stanley Cup.
"I really appreciate the opportunity to come back to the Flyers organization and I'm really looking forward to the challenge that's out there of coaching the Phantoms," Murray said. "The youth playing down in the American Hockey League is a real important part of the organization. I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting back into the playoffs and helping these young players develop and become NHL players as quickly as possible."
This will be Murray's third coaching tenure with the Flyers. He coached the team from 1994-97, and was an assistant coach from 2003-08. That stint ended when he was hired by the Kings.
"We feel very fortunate to be able to bring Terry back to the Flyers organization as head coach of the Phantoms," Holmgren said. "Terry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, is an excellent teacher and a strong believer in the development process of young players."
Murray admitted he was surprised to be contacted by the Flyers -- and pleased to be returning to the organization.
"It's something I had not thought about," he said of his new assignment. "But at the end of the day, I'm very appreciative of the opportunity. The Flyers are a great organization. I was there as a player, as a head coach, assistant coach, I've got a lot of friends that are still in the organization. Paul and I played together, Bobby Clarke and I played together. It's a team that wants to win. They want to do things right every year. That's what a coach wants. You want to be able to win, and you want to have the ability to win through stuff that the team can give you."
Murray said he's not bothered by moving from one of the NHL's big markets in L.A. to one of the small-market franchises in the AHL -- Adirondack plays in Glens Falls, N.Y.
"It's a hockey team," he said. "You're trying to put together a team that's going to win. You want to make the playoffs, you want to win the championship. That doesn't change from a major market out in LA, from Philadelphia, to Adirondack. Once you get in the building, you get in your office, you turn on the video machine, you're reviewing the game on tape, you're preparing for your meetings, you're getting on the ice. The ice is 200 by 85. It's the same as it is in any NHL rink. That's your focus.
"I'm a hockey coach, I love to coach. When Paul presented it to me, in the way that he did – coming back to the Flyers in particular was very exciting, and I feel like it's a great opportunity to work with young players and again, it's just a wonderful challenge and I'm looking forward to it."
Murray has coached in the NHL with the Capitals, Flyers, Panthers and Kings, posting a record of 499-383-41 with 89 ties in 1,012 games.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK