Peters following path of Babcock

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

KITCHENER -- Shortly after locking up a berth in the Stanley Cup final Monday, Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock tried to contact an old friend.

This is where the roads to Stanley Cup and Memorial Cup start to merge.

"He sent me a message wanting to find out who won that night (Belleville or Gatineau) and see if we were in the final," said Spokane head coach Bill Peters, whose Chiefs play for junior hockey's biggest prize Sunday at the Memorial Auditorium.

"I got a hold of him and we had a good chat. I'm not a strong texter. It's quicker for me to pick up the phone and have a 10-minute conversation than it is to send three lines of text."

In 1999, Babcock was the Chiefs' head coach and Peters was his assistant.

Five years earlier, Babcock led the Lethbridge Pronghorns to their only Canadian university hockey title and posted the best record in school history. A half-decade after they were together, Peters became the head coach in Lethbridge. He didn't enjoy the same success, finishing with a three-year record of 17-59-8, including a dismal 5-28-2 mark in 2004-05.

"It was my third year there and we weren't very good at all," he said, "but to appreciate the better times, you have to go through the tough ones, too."

Kitchener's Peter DeBoer is heading to the NHL to coach -- some day. He's considered the hottest bench prospect in Canada right now.

Gatineau Olympiques boss Benoit Groulx has done it all in major junior hockey.

He's certainly pro material.

Belleville's George Burnett has already coached in the NHL and like the other two, has either won or been to a Memorial Cup final.

But Peters has beaten them all this week.


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