DeBoer named new head coach of Panthers Staff

6/13/2008 5:16:53 PM

Peter DeBoer has been named the new head coach of the Florida Panthers.

''I am very excited about getting the opportunity to coach the Florida Panthers,'' DeBoer said in a statement. ''I am looking forward to the challenge of guiding this franchise back to the playoffs and to putting a team on the ice that our fans in South Florida can be proud of.''

This past season, DeBoer led the Rangers to a berth in the Memorial Cup, losing in the final to the Spokane Chiefs. He led the Rangers to a Memorial Cup title in 2003.

He was also an assistant coach with Canada's gold medal-winning entry at the World Junior Hockey Championship. He was the leading candidate to lead this year's team in Ottawa.

''I was really pleased when Peter decided on our organization,'' general manager Jacques Martin said. ''It's a sign that this organization is making strides and having quality people and moving forward.''

Earlier this week, DeBoer met with Eugene Melnyk regarding the head coaching position with the Ottawa Senators but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

And he was expected to interview with the Los Angeles Kings this weekend.