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Chiefs name Peters head coach

June 22, 2005 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Spokane Chiefs News Release

Bill Peters has been named the new Head Coach of the Spokane Chiefs and will return to the franchise where he once served as the team's assistant coach. Peters rejoins the organization after a three year stint as the Head Coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

"I consider this to be a great opportunity," Peters said. "The Chiefs are one of the marquee franchises in the WHL, and play in a marquee building with a great ownership group in a good hockey city. I am extremely excited to start the job and look forward to this upcoming season."

In keeping with club policy, terms of the two-year contract will not be disclosed.

The Red Deer, Alberta native was the Chiefs assistant from 1999-2002 serving under Head Coaches Mike Babcock (1999-2000) and Perry Ganchar (2000-01 and 2001-02). Peters originally joined the Chiefs family as a scout and served as an assistant coach for half of the 1996-97 season.

"We are proud and excited to have Bill return to our organization," Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said. "I believe he has prepared himself well in the last six years for our head coaching position and has earned this opportunity."

"There is definitely a comfort level coming back to Spokane," Peters said. "But I know that being the head coach and being the assistant coach are two different jobs. The head coach is going to set the tone for the franchise. I feel that I can provide structure and help 20 players in the line-up commit to each other and help everyone achieve their goals."

Peters won a silver medal as the Head Coach of Team Pacific at the under-17 World Hockey Challenge this past January in Lethbridge, Alberta. Chiefs forward J.P. Szaszkiewicz scored three goals for the team that was made up players from Alberta and British Columbia.

"Bill has stayed close to the WHL and will have very little transition time returning to the Spokane Chiefs. I look forward to working with Bill again and am pleased to welcome him back to Spokane," Speltz said.

In 1999-2000, Peters was a part of the largest turnaround in franchise history going from 19 wins in 1998-99 to 47 wins in 1999-00. The Chiefs won the West Division title in the regular season and the Western Conference Championship in the playoffs before falling in the WHL Finals in six games to the Kootenay Ice.

During the 1999-00 regular season, Peters was honored as the Western Conference's All-Star Assistant Coach with the Chiefs Mike Babcock serving as head coach. In the 2000-2001 season, Peters and the Chiefs returned to the Western Conference Finals after a 35 win regular season. The Chiefs swept both the first and second round of the post-season before dropping a five-game series to the Portland Winter Hawks. For the second year in a row, Peters served as the Western Conference's Assistant Coach in the CHL's All-Star Cup.

During three seasons behind the bench, Peters helped the Chiefs lead the Western Conference in fewest goals allowed each season, including a franchise record 191 during the 1999-2000 season.

Peters helped coach 14 all-stars, three first team and five second team post-season All-Stars in Spokane, including Kyle Rossiter, Kurt Sauer, Brandin Cote, Derek Schutz, Tyler MacKay, Roman Tvrdon and Barry Brust.

Babcock, who is currently the head coach of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, said, "I'm real excited for Bill and the Spokane Chiefs, they're a great fit for each other."

"Bill has worked very hard to become a quality coach, leader and teacher of young men. I wish him and the organization the best," Babcock finished.

Peters also served as team captain while playing for Babcock at Red Deer College in 1988-89.

Peters is a 1995 graduate from the University of Texas-San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.

The 40-year-old Peters and his wife, Denise, have two children, 6-year-old Aleze and nine-month-old Ayden

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