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Photo by Greg Hamil
06/01/2011 2:00 PM

Article By: Mike Peck

Rockford’s hockey operations returns for 2011-12 season

Bill Peters Audio

Chicago, Ill.- The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Wednesday that the National Hockey League club has re-signed General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard, Bill Peters, head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate Rockford IceHogs, along with Rockford’s assistant coaches Ted Dent and Steve Poapst for the 2011-12 season.

Bernard returns to his role of overseeing the Blackhawks minor league affiliations, including the organization’s prospects in Rockford and with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.  

The 2011-12 season will be Bernard’s fourth in his current position in Rockford and fifth overall with the IceHogs. He also served as head coach for the IceHogs during the 2003-04 campaign while the team played in the United Hockey League. The Hamilton, Ontario native also served as the head coach and general manager of the Basingstoke Bison from 2004-06.

Before his return to Rockford, Bernard spent two seasons with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) and was honored by the AHL with the James C. Hendy Memorial Award as the league’s most outstanding executive during the 2007-08 season.

Peters is the second head coach in Rockford’s AHL era, recently completing his third season behind the bench of Chicago’s top affiliate. The IceHogs have finished with a winning record during all three of Peters’ campaigns behind the bench, including a 38-33-4-5 mark in 2010-11.

Under Peters watch, Rockford has qualified for the postseason twice (2008-09 and 2009-10) and he has helped develop and graduate 22 different players into the NHL.  His overall record with the IceHogs is 122-97-7-14 (.552) and his win total rank him second on Rockford’s all-time wins list.

Prior to getting named bench boss in Rockford, the Three Hills, Alberta native guided the Spokane Chiefs (WHL) for three seasons, including to the Memorial Cup in 2008. The Chiefs finished their historic season with a 50-15-1-6 record. Following his Memorial Cup run in 2008, Peters led the U-18 Canadian National Team to the Gold Medal at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka competition in Slovakia and Czech Republic.

Dent returns to his post in Rockford for a fifth-straight season and sixth overall with the Blackhawks AHL affiliate. The Toronto, Ont. native began his stint in Chicago’s minor league system in 2006-07 with the Norfolk Admirals.  

With Dent’s assistance behind the bench, the Blackhawks AHL affiliate has a record of 254-178-21-27 (.579) and he has helped nurture nearly 40 different players to the NHL in six seasons.  Dent has been with the IceHogs each season during the team’s AHL era dating back to the 2007-08 season.

Prior to joining to Blackhawks organization, Dent was the head coach of the ECHL’s Columbia Inferno and an assistant to former IceHogs head coach Mike Haviland with the 2005 Kelly Cup Champion Trenton Titans (ECHL).

Poapst enters his second season with the IceHogs after serving four seasons as head coach and general manager of the Chicago Steel (USHL).  The former NHL d-man earned the USHL’s Coach of the Year honor in 2008.

The Cornwall, Ont. native also played in 220 games with the Blackhawks from 2000-2004 in the middle of a playing career that saw Poapst participate in 307 career NHL games. Poapst also skated with Washington, Pittsburgh and St. Louis during his seven year NHL career.

Season Tickets On Sale For 2011-12: It'll be a long summer without IceHogs hockey and season ticket packages for the 2011-12 season are now on sale. To find a ticket package that quenches your hockey thirst, call (815) 847-6399.