Former Hurricanes coach Bill Peters gets KHL job

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters speaks during Carolina Hurricanes Media Day on Sept. 5, 2017, at PNC Arena in Raleigh. (Eamon Queeney / North State Journal)

MOSCOW — Former Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters made a return to professional hockey on Wednesday when he was appointed coach of Russian hockey club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.

Peters resigned as coach of the Calgary Flames last year after admitting to using racial slurs as an AHL head coach and allegations he struck players when coaching the Hurricanes from 2014-18. Peters opted out of the final year of his contract with the Hurricanes during the 2018 offseason and was hired by the Flames.

“I think as time goes on we all grow and improve and become better versions of ourselves, and I’m no different than that. You learn from all the experiences that you’re in, and you become better,” Peters said during a video conference call with Russian media.

“It’s no different right now, going through a very trying time right now in the world with the global pandemic, and I believe we’re going to come out of this, and when we come out of this people are going to be better people for it and more passionate and compassionate towards each other and more patient.”

Peters was speaking remotely and it wasn’t clear when he would join Avtomobilist amid Russia’s extensive travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The future is a little bit unpredictable, obviously,” he said. “It’s going to take us time to come out of us situation that we’re in as far as the global pandemic, but I’m excited about the opportunity to go to the KHL and challenge myself to be able to do a good job for a full season, two seasons, however long it might be.”

Avtomobilist’s top player is Pavel Datsyuk, but Peters said he didn’t know whether the 41-year-old former Detroit Red Wings center would stay with the club for next season. Datsyuk’s contract expires at the end of the month.

Peters was 137-138-53 in four seasons with the Hurricanes and did not reach the playoffs, but the Flames went 50-25-7 in 2018-19 to win the Pacific Division before being eliminated in the first round by Colorado. The Flames were 12-12-4 this season when Peters resigned.

The Kontinental Hockey League abandoned its 2019-20 season last month, midway through the playoffs, saying that the pandemic made it impossible to continue.