Passing down the knowledge
Catching up with Pete Peeters
EDMONTON -- He was the last Boston Bruin to take home the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the National Hockey League
During the 1982-83 season, Pete Peeters recorded one of the greatest Bruins seasons ever. His season included a 31-game undefeated streak, the second longest in NHL history.
That year, which was Peeters' first with Boston, he posted a 40-11-9 record with 2.34 GAA. He led the NHL in wins, average and shutouts (8). He was aslo named to the All-Star team as the top goaltender.
"I played behind a great defensive core and aggressive back-checking forwards," said Peeters. "Any success I had with the Bruins definitely comes from the players I played behind. Without them none of it would have happened."
Peeters came to Boston in 1982 via a trade from the Philadelphia Flyers for Brad McCrimmon. Peeters enjoyed three plus seasons in Boston before he was traded once again to the Washington Capitals for goalie Pat Riggin, in an exchange of No. 1 goaltenders.
Peeters still ranks among the Bruins' top ten in games played (171) and wins (91).
"Initially when I was traded to Boston there was the unknown and I was fearful and nervous," said Peeters. "Then, the state of Massachusetts and the people of Boston were outstanding and to play in the old Garden and have the people on top of you was a great feeling. When you came in as an opposing team it was intimidating.
"It's a shame those old buildings got torn down because you can never replace that atmosphere. The buildings had so much character and life."
In all, Peeters played for 13 seasons with the Flyers, Bruins, and Capitals. He won a total of 246 games in his career.
"When you are a little boy you dream about playing in the NHL, and not many people are fortunate enough to live out their dream," said Peeters. "I lived my dream and I am thankful I was able to do that and to be able to rub shoulders with so many great players."
Today Peeters is back working in the NHL in his hometown as the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers. Peeters was offered the job a couple of years ago when Kevin Lowe took over the Edmonton General Manager position.
Peeters had done some goaltending coaching previously with the Minnesota North Stars shortly after retiring in 1992 and later with the Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes.
"I said sure and it would be great," said Peeters of the Oilers job offer. "I think I have a lot to offer young kids if they are willing to learn and work hard. I don't think there is a gospel on goaltending and I think you have to look at the individual and see where his assets are and work with them."
Peeters lives north of Edmonton on a farm with his wife Laurel and their three children, Jeremy, 21, Chelsey, 19 and Trevor, 16. Trevor is following in his dad's footsteps and is a top goaltending prospect playing for the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Canada Hockey League.
"We've never pushed our children in any direction." said Peeters. "It's something that he definitely seems to have a passion for. He's his own person and I try to stay away from him in the respect I don't want to smother him - I just want to be a dad.
"If he comes to me and asks for help it's something he wants. That makes it better for the father-son relationship. I just want to be a dad to the kids and support them anyway I can."
With the Bruins success this year, Peeters kept an eye on his old team especially the emergence of rookie goalie Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft put together another special goaltending season for the Bruins with veteran Felix Potvin, guiding the way.
"I think they (Bruins) were so solid in net all year," said Peeters. "They have Andrew Raycroft and Felix Potvin. I think he (Potvin) adds a lot of stability to run with a young fellow and I think that you need that combination.
"You are always a Bruins fan once you put the uniform on and I wish them the best in the playoffs."
Raycroft could become the first Bruin to win the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the NHL since Pete Peeters did it back in 1983.
If you would like to hear where a former New England Sports Star is these days, please e-mail Jon Goode at firstname.lastname@example.org