Peter Laviolette & Brock Woods to be Inducted at March 24th Game
WHEELING, WV (WTRF)- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce the Wheeling Hockey Hall of Fame Class for the 2022-23 season. This seasons inductees are former Wheeling Nailers Head Coach Peter Laviolette and former Wheeling Thunderbirds Defenseman Brock Woods.
Peter Laviolette began his head coaching career with the Nailers, when he was named to the position in the summer of 1997. Wheeling was coming off of an opening round playoff exit, and turned to Laviolette to help guide the team to a deep run. Peter’s 1997-98 squad turned in a 37-24-9 record to finish second in the Northeast Division. In the playoffs, the Nailers took down the Dayton Bombers in a decisive fifth game in the first round, then became the only Wheeling team ever to oust Toledo, as they did so in four games in round two.
The Franklin, Massachusetts native departed the Friendly City for the American Hockey League, and his success followed him in a big way. Laviolette guided the Providence Bruins to a 56-14-4-4 regular season mark and a 15-4 postseason record to win the Calder Cup. Peter spent two seasons in Providence, before moving up the ladder to the NHL, where he was an assistant coach for the Boston Bruins in 2000-01. That opened the door for Laviolette’s first NHL head coaching job, as he was hired by the New York Islanders in 2001. Peter has been an NHL head coach for 21 seasons, as he has led the Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators, and Washington Capitals. Thus far, the shining moment of his NHL coaching career took place in 2006, when he won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes, thanks to a 2-1 win in game seven against the Edmonton Oilers. Laviolette is the only coach in NHL history to lead three different teams to the Stanley Cup Final, and his 745 career wins are the most in NHL history for a head coach born in the United States.
Peter is currently the head coach for the Washington Capitals, and he and his wife Kristen have three children – sons Peter and Jack, and daughter Elisabeth. Peter Jr. and Peter III are the first father and son to both be members of the Nailers organization.
Brock Woods first came to Wheeling as an opposing player, as he was a member of the 1992-93 Greensboro Monarchs. However, the Thunderbirds liked what they saw from him, as they brought him to town for the team’s second season. The hometown fans took an immediate liking to Woods, who played the tough blue-collar style that Wheeling is known for, in addition to putting points on the board. Brock played three seasons for the Thunderbirds from 1993-96, and finished with 37 goals, 85 assists, 122 points, 639 penalty minutes, and a +34 rating in 193 games. He is one of six defensemen in team history to record at least ten goals and at least 100 penalty minutes in the same season, and is the only blueliner to achieve that feat in three different seasons. Woods also served as the team’s captain during the 1994-95 season.
The Belleville, Ontario native played in five games with the Huntington Blizzard during the 1996-97 season, before hanging up the skates to conclude his playing career. The City of Wheeling left such an impact on Woods that he returned in search of ways to continue to work in the game he loved. Brock brought his remarkable hockey knowledge up to the broadcast booth, where he served as the team’s color commentator for over a decade, and still participates in the occasional broadcast to this day. Woods has also been very active in the youth hockey community, as he coached in the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association and at Wheeling Park High School.
Brock and his wife Cari now get to enjoy sports as parents, as they cheer on their three children – son Tommy, and daughters Shanley and Lala.
Peter Laviolette and Brock Woods will be inducted into the Wheeling Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday, March 24th. That night, the Nailers will face the Kalamazoo Wings at 7:10.
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