Canes fans optimistic but unfamiliar with new coach

nmccaskill@newsobserver.comJune 20, 2014 

— Hurricanes fans don’t know much about new coach Bill Peters, but Friday seemed willing to give him a chance.

Peters, 49, was named coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and formally introduced Friday at a press conference. The former Detroit Red Wings assistant has no prior head coaching experience in the NHL.

“I’ll be honest with you, I just really never heard of him,” said Michael Beach, 47, an accountant from Raleigh who’s been a fan of the Canes since they moved to North Carolina in 1997.

That sentiment was a theme among fans interviewed at several locales in Raleigh, including Player’s Retreat, Tobacco Road and East Village Grill & Bar.

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Alex Amra, 43, owner of Tobacco Road Sports Café from Raleigh, said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the hire, though he thought the Canes would go after Ulf Samuelsson, New York Rangers assistant.

“You gotta go outside the box sometimes,” Amra said. “You can’t just keep recycling them. You gotta give a guy a shot.”

David Finch, 54, CEO of ATCOM and a former season ticket holder from Raleigh, said “armchair goalies” will say the team is trying to save money by hiring an under-the-radar coach. But Finch said he has confidence that the management knows what it’s doing.

“They must know something about this guy,” he said. “I’m looking forward to hearing more about him and why they picked him.”

The Hurricanes have reached the playoffs only once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Being a fan during this drought has “just been disappointing,” Beach said.

“You don’t win the Stanley Cup every year, but you like for them to make the playoffs and make a good run at it,” he said. “And the fact they haven’t made the playoffs makes it really frustrating. That’s the way I see it.”

McCaskill: 919-829-4567

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