PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia Flyers have named Ian Laperriere as the 11th coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday afternoon, moving the former Flyer from his role as an assistant coach in Philadelphia. Laperriere takes the position after Scott Gordon was relieved of his duties at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. The announcement was made by Flyers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Chuck Fletcher.
“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,” Fletcher said via the team’s official release.
Phantoms owner Jim Brooks also commented on the announcement.
“Rob 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, 47, joined the Flyers as a player signing with the team prior to the 2009-10 season and helped the team reach their most recent Stanley Cup Final that season, famously blocking a shot with his face early in the run. Laperriere was forced to retire from the game after sustaining a concussion from that shot block and became an assistant coach with the team in 2013. Philadelphia was one in a stop of several in his 1,083 regular-season games over 16 seasons.
“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,” said Laperriere.
The Phantoms are looking to continue to build after a second-place finish in the AHL’s North Division this past season with an 18-7-4-2 record over 32 games played in 2020-21. The record was good for fifth overall in the AHL in points percentage, and the Flyers are investing a lot into their up-and-coming youngsters in the organization. Players who spent time in Lehigh Valley who also skated in Philadelphia this past season include Wade Allison, Cam York, Sam Morin, and Egor Zamula. These players will have the benefit of Laperriere’s experience as their new head coach in 2021-22 and beyond.