Peters resigns as Hurricanes coach

Carolina missed the playoffs in four seasons under the first-time NHL coach

The Hurricanes and coach Bill Peters are still in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, with five Metropolitan Division teams battling for two spots. (James Guillory / USA TODAY Sports)

RALEIGH — Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters was fond of saying, “We like our group.”

Apparently, he didn’t like it that much.

Peters activated the out clause in his contract, voiding the final year of his contract that would have paid him $1.6 million. He is considered a candidate for other head coaching positions, most notably with the Calgary Flames in his native Alberta.

The Hurricanes will begin their search for his replacement immediately, the team said in a press release.

“I have a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach,” said Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said in a statement. “We thank him for his time with the Hurricanes and wish him success in whatever comes next.”

Peters spent four seasons in Carolina, his first  NHL head coaching job, and went 137-138-53, but never led the team to the postseason. The Hurricanes have not made the playoffs since 2009, a nine-season drought.

“I want to thank Tom Dundon, Peter Karmanos and Ron Francis for the trust they put in me to lead the team,” Peters said in the release. “I feel the incoming general manager should have the ability to hire his own head coach. I also want to thank Don Waddell and the entire front office and PNC Arena staff. This business requires hard work and long hours, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the many people I have worked alongside during the past four years.

“We enjoyed our time in Raleigh, and my family will always feel a connection to North Carolina. I feel like this is a good time to move on, and I am looking forward to my next challenge.”

Peters abruptly exited his final press conference following Carolina’s 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay in the team’s home finale on April 7, making a statement about the Humboldt Broncos bus accident tragedy before exiting the press room. He had previously put off answering any questions about his job security — or his out clause — to the end of the season.

Peters’ departure continues a tumultuous 2018 for the Hurricanes. Since Dundon became majority owner, he has removed Ron Francis from his post as general manager — a vacancy the team has yet to fill — and now must hire a new coach as well.