Ian Laperriere Named Lehigh Valley Phantoms Head Coach

On Sunday evening, the Philadelphia Flyers named Ian Laperriere as the new head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, according to Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher.

In the team’s news release on the hiring, Fletcher stated the following

“We’re very happy to have Ian serve as the next head coach of the Phantoms. He has been an extremely dedicated individual to the Flyers organization and has shown a strong work ethic as a player, development coach and an assistant over the last 12 years for us. We are excited to have him at the forefront of developing our prospects, preparing them to reach the NHL and bringing success to Lehigh Valley.”

Laperriere had spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Flyers, and is perhaps best known for running the team’s penalty kill before Mike Yeo’s hire in the summer of 2019. Before his coaching career began, Laperriere was named the Flyers’ Director of Player Development in June 2012 shortly after his retirement.

Laperriere played one season for the Flyers in 2009-10. He appeared in all 82 regular season games and 13 postseason games en route to helping Philadelphia reach the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. Laperriere’s most notable moment as a Flyer came in Game 5 of the Flyers’ 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup against the New Jersey Devils when he blocked a shot with his face while killing a penalty. That resulted in 10 missed games before returning to the lineup in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens.

Laperriere would not play again due to complications from post-concussion syndrome, but because of his mentorship of younger players on the team, he was awarded the Bill Masteron Memorial Trophy in 2011 by the NHL for his perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Upon his hiring, Laperriere said in the team’s release:

“I’m very excited for this next challenge in my career and I would like to thank Chuck Fletcher, Brent Flahr and Barry Hanrahan, as well as Jim and Rob Brooks for this opportunity. The Phantoms are a first-class organization in the AHL and the fan base in Lehigh Valley are the very best at showing their support at every game. I look forward to developing the players in our system, helping the Flyers reach their goals by continuing the success of the Phantoms and building towards winning a Calder Cup Championship.”

Laperriere will be taking over a Phantoms squad that is coming off a successful 18-7-4-2 season under longtime head coach Scott Gordon. Gordon and the Flyers mutually parted ways back in May, and it’s been long rumored since then that Laperriere was the leading candidate for the job, which was first reported by Tony Androckitis of Inside AHL Hockey back on May 18th.

Phantoms co-owner Jim Brooks also expressed his excitement on the hire as well:

“Rob (Brooks) and I are thrilled to welcome Ian Laperriere as our new head coach. Lappy is the ultimate team player. He has extensive experience with the organization as a player and coach, and brings a positive enthusiasm that we believe will propel our players to higher standards on and off the ice in their development and quest to win the AHL’s Calder Cup. Ian carries a strong commitment to the community and we look forward to having him represent the Phantoms/Flyers organization and Lehigh Valley community as a leader.”

Laperriere will have a surplus of young talent to work with next season and will be tasked with helping them take the next step in their professional careers. Prospects such as Isaac Ratcliffe, Egor Zamula, Cam York, Zayde Wisdom, Tyson Foerster, and Felix Sandström are all potential pieces of a team that could help bring a championship to Allentown and could make impacts in Philadelphia in the future. Laperriere will be responsible for helping guide them along the way.