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Westfield State alumnus Laviolette takes helm in Nashville


May 8, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced that the club has hired 2006 Stanley Cup-winning coach and Westfield State University alumnus Peter Laviolette as the second head coach in team history and signed him to a multi-year contract. Also joining the coaching staff is Kevin McCarthy, who will serve as an assistant alongside Lane Lambert and Phil Housley.

“Having reached the peak as a Stanley Cup Champion, Peter knows the intensity and urgency it will take to help our team reach its ultimate goal,” Poile said. “He is a great hockey mind who not only has a winning resume, but has done it with an aggressive offensive philosophy while also excelling in helping young players reach their potential. We look forward to Peter instilling his culture in Nashville immediately following his duties coaching the United States at the 2014 World Championship.”

Laviolette said, “I love the nucleus of this team, starting on the back end with two of the best players at their positions in defenseman Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne, in addition to a solid group of dependable veterans and talented, rising young talent. My challenge will be to impart a system that enables our young forwards to thrive and reach their offensive potential. Being a perennial Stanley Cup contender requires buy-in, passion and commitment from every player on the roster. I can’t wait to get to Nashville and get started on our journey.”

In parts of 12 seasons with the New York Islanders (2001-03), Carolina Hurricanes (2003-09) and Philadelphia Flyers (2009-14), Laviolette has compiled a career coaching record of 389-282-(25)-63 (866 points), and each of the three teams improved exponentially in the first full season after he took the helm: the Islanders finished with 96 points and the eighth-best record in the League in 2001-02 after finishing 30th with 52 points the season prior; the Hurricanes went from 23rd in the NHL with 76 points to fourth with 112 points in 2005-06; and the Flyers improved from 88 points and 18th in the NHL to 106 points and fourth in 2010-11.

Laviolette won 52 games in his first full season with Carolina in 2005-06 – earning him runner-up Jack Adams Award honors in the closest vote in award history – recorded back-to-back 47-win seasons with Philadelphia in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and hit the 40-win mark on three other occasions (2001-02, 2006-07 and 2007-08).

Including his Stanley Cup win in 2006 with Carolina, Laviolette has made six postseason appearances, posting a series record of 9-5. He led the Islanders to back-to-back Stanley Cup Playoff appearances in 2002 and 2003, ending a seven-year postseason absence for the franchise, and advanced beyond the opening round three times with the Flyers, including the 2009-10 campaign, when he took over midseason and proceeded to lead the team to game six of the Stanley Cup Final.

Laviolette is a 1986 graduate of Westfield State University.

Laviolette played for the United States in two Winter Olympic Games: the 1988 Calgary Games and in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway. Laviolette was the only NCAA Division III player on both teams and earned the prestigious honor of being named captain of the 1994 Team USA squad.

He was a captain during his senior, junior and sophomore seasons at Westfield State, where he was an all-conference defenseman and led the team in scoring his senior year. A four-year starter at Westfield State, he ranks 14th in career scoring with 43 goals and 44 assists.

Laviolette also was actively involved in the intramurals sports program at Westfield State for four years and supervised the college’s floor hockey league.

Laviolette was first honored by Westfield State in 1988 when he received the Alumnus of the Year Award and was later inducted to the Westfield State University Hall of Fame in 2002.

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