The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have named former AHL coach of the year Peter Laviolette head coach and relieved John Stevens of his duties, according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.
“This was a very difficult decision for me to make given my relationship with John,” said Holmgren. “I want to thank him for his service to the Flyers organization over the years. Peter Laviolette brings experience along with a different approach to the game. We look forward to him putting his stamp on the team quickly and getting our team headed in the right direction.”
"Obviously this is a great opportunity. I am really excited,” said Laviolette. “The Flyers are an organization that has a lot of tradition and a lot of history. This is just an exciting time for me and my family and we are really looking forward to it."
Laviolette, 45, is the 17th head coach in Flyers history and joins Philadelphia after spending parts of five seasons as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes (2003-04 to 2008-09), where he compiled a 167-122-34 record in 323 games. In 2005-06, he led the Hurricanes to a 52-22-8 regular season record finishing first place in the Southeast Division and setting franchise records in wins (52) and points (112) in a single season. In the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs, Laviolette guided Carolina to a 16-9 record and their first Stanley Cup Championship, when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 3-1, in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final on June 19, 2006. He was also named a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL Coach of the Year in 2006.
Prior to joining the Hurricanes, Laviolette served as head coach of the New York Islanders for two seasons (2001-02 to 2002-03). As head coach, he registered a 77-62-25 regular season record and led the team to Stanley Cup Playoff berths in both seasons after the Islanders missed the postseason seven straight times between 1993-1994 and 2000-01.
Over parts of seven season in the NHL as head coach (2001-02 to 2008-09), Laviolette has compiled a record of 244-184-59 in 487 games coached with the Islanders and Hurricanes.
Prior to serving as the Islanders head coach, Laviolette served as an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins in 2000-01 after serving as head coach of the Bruins’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins for two seasons (1998-99 to 1999-2000). In his first year at the helm, he led Providence to a 56-16-4-4 regular-season record, and a 15-4 record in the Calder Cup Playoffs to lead the team to the Calder Cup Championship. He was also the recipient of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year.
Internationally, Laviolette was named head coach for Team USA at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and was also head coach for Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in 2004 and 2005, guiding the US Squad to the bronze medal in 2004. He has also served as an assistant coach for Team USA in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where he led the US to the semifinals. Prior to his coaching years, Laviolette appeared in the 1988 and 1994 Winter Olympics as a player, and served as captain of the 1994 Olympic squad.
A native of Franklin, Mass., Laviolette played 11 seasons of professional hockey, and he participated in the AHL All-Star Classic in 1997.