The Philadelphia Flyers have not wasted any time with finding someone for their AHL head coach vacancy. While many other teams continue to interview coaches for roles without any formal hires, the Flyers have made the first major coaching decision of the offseason. After parting ways with Scott Gordon less than three weeks ago, the Flyers have announced that Ian Laperriere has been named the head coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Of course, this means the Flyers now have another position to fill. Laperriere has served as an assistant coach for the NHL club since 2013-14, working under Craig Berube, Dave Hakstol, and Alain Vigneault, as well as briefly under Gordon, the man he is now replacing. Before that, he was the director of player development for the organization, which ties into his new role overseeing the Flyers’ pro prospects. The move thus comes as no surprise, as Philadelphia decides to stay internal with a trusted name, but also allowing Vigneault to bring in a new face for his staff.
Laperriere, 47, transitioned directly from his playing career into his professional career with the Flyers, hanging up his skates in 2012 after playing his final three years in Philadelphia. However, complications from a concussion suffered during the 2010 postseason actually kept him from competing in those final two seasons. Instead, he stayed on in a support role to the organization and was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his efforts. In total, Laperriere played more than 1,000 games in the NHL as a fearsome enforcer and two-way forward. His experience both on and off the ice has him set up well to coach the Flyers’ AHL prospects, currently a deep and talented group.