Rob Peters is the new boys’ hockey coach and he’s no stranger to the Patriot League.
Rob Peters knows firsthand what the Whitman-Hanson Regional High boys’ hockey team is capable of after serving as an assistant coach for Scituate the last two seasons.
Not only did the Panthers go 2-0 against the Sailors last year during league play, but they also ended their season in the Division 2 South quarterfinals.
“They’re (Whitman-Hanson) well respected, very difficult,” Peters said. “It’s always a dog fight to play Whitman-Hanson.”
Fortunately for Peters, he doesn’t have to worry about playing the Panthers anymore, after they hired him as their next head coach last month.
“It’s definitely exciting being back behind the bench head coaching and kind of build off of a great, respected program,” Peters said. “I’m definitely excited to be a part of that.”
Peters succeeds Chris Googins, who stepped down to spend more time with his family, and Peters knows he has some big shoes to fill. Googins took the program from a one-win season in 2015 (his first season back in his second stint behind the Panthers bench) to its best campaign in at least 15 years this past winter, going 17-6-1 and earning a trip to the South semifinals. Peters said his philosophy mirrors the program’s current style quite well.
“I like to coach a very disciplined, defensive-minded-first team, so I like having kids with good characters,” Peters said. “That’s what I saw as an outsider and then when I started to go through the interview process and learn more about Whitman-Hanson and who they are as a school and a community, there’s a lot of similarities with how I live my everyday life. As I went through the interview process, it reassured me that it was going to be a good fit.”
Peters’ duties at Scituate included running the power play, coaching the forwards and leading film sessions. Additionally, he owns and operates his own hockey skill development company. He also worked in community development and branding for the New Jersey Devils organization.
“I think I’ll be able to add a little more versatility and a little more skill development [to W-H],” Peters said.
A question for any new W-H boys’ hockey coach should be: How do you keep the program relevant?
“I want to try and have a little more input with their youth program,” Peters said. “I want to really get them excited to play for Whitman-Hanson hockey — kind of build from the bottom up.”
“Year after year, players change but the systems, the character, and everything that comes with the game mentally stays. If we create a family atmosphere, I think we can overcome anything.”
And the Panthers’ are going to have to overcome the graduation of a few key forwards in Patriot League All-Stars Adam Solari (23 goals, 11 assists) and Chris Stoddard (nine goals, 28 assists). However, they will return a league all-star in net, Bobby Siders, and freshman forward standout Matt Solari (18 goals, 14 assists).
“I want to make the playoffs — that’s a big goal,” Peters said. “They had a really big year last year. We lost some key forwards but I think we are still going to have a great roster and character. I’m excited to see what these guys got. I want to get back in the playoffs — where they were last year.”