Garry Peters had the scoring touch in junior with the Regina Pats and had some minor league glory, as well, in the CPHL and AHL. When it came to his respectable 311 games in the National Hockey League, he was anything but an offensive threat.
Peters found his way into NAHL history, taking the head coaching job for the Syracuse Blazers in 1974-75, the year after his final year of pro hockey as a player. It would be his only year as a head coach in pro hockey.
Garry Peters – NAHL
As mentioned, Garry was head coach of the Syracuse Blazers in 1974-75. Peters came into the season with no coaching experience, having retired after playing the previous season in the WHA. The Blazers were first overall in the eight team league during the regular season, finishing 12 points ahead of the second place Philadelphia Firebirds.
Bob Jones led Syracuse offensively, his 76 assists and 114 points leading the entire NAHL. Gary Sittler from the Blazers led the league with 262 penalty minutes. In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, Syracuse had a bye through the first round and came up against the Johnstown Jets in the semi-finals. The series was tight with the Jets coming out on top 4-3. Each team scored 26 goals over the seven games and the Blazers at one time held a 3-2 series lead.
Garry Peters – Junior / Minor Pro
Peters spent four years with the Regina Pats of the SJHL from 1959-60 to 1962-63. He was team captain for his final two campaigns. Over his junior career, Garry scored 127 and assisted on 160 for 287 points over 200 regular season games.
In his second year, 1960-61, the Pats swept the Estevan Bruins in four games to capture the SJHL championship. Regina then fell to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Abbott Cup semi-finals.
The following year, Peters led the SJHL with 69 assists and 114 points over 56 games. He was selected as the First Team All-Star Centre. The Pats reached the finals again but this time fell to the Moose Jaw Canucks in seven games.
His final year in Regina saw him selected as a First Team All-Star again. The Pats lost to the Estevan Bruins in the semi-finals. Peters then joined the Bruins for the Abbott Cup playoffs but Estevan fell in six to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the semi-finals. That year, he saw his first pro action, appearing in four regular season and one playoff game in the EPHL with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens.
Peters joined the Omaha Knights in 1963-64 for his first full year of pro hockey. He was named CPHL Rookie Of The Year, scoring 32 and assisting on 49 for 81 points over 72 games. Garry tied for fifth in goal scoring, tied for sixth in assists and placed fifth for points in the league. Alain Caron of the St. Louis Braves ripped apart the CPHL with 77 goals that year.
Teamed with future NHLers Barclay Plager, Claude Larose, Noel Picard and Ernie Wakely, Peters and the Knights finished first overall and won the playoff championship over the St. Paul Rangers. St. Paul managed one win but were outscored by Omaha 28-8 on the series.
In 1966-67, Garry returned to the CPHL with the Houston Apollos, a farm team of the Montreal Canadiens. In 50 games, he contributed 52 points. The team was heavy in future NHLers and even a few future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Regular teammates included Andre Boudrias, Danny Grant, Jacques Lemaire, Serge Savard and Rogie Vachon. Pat Quinn, Carol Vadnais and Mickey Redmond played sparingly with the team.
His one last go in the minors was 1971-72 with the Boston Braves of the American Hockey League. Over 58 games, Peters scored 39 and assisted on 34 for 73 points. He was named a First Team All-Star and was honoured with the Les Cunningham Award as MVP. Garry's 39 goals placed him fourth in the AHL. On that farm team of the Boston Bruins were up and comers Terry O'Reilly and Dan Bouchard.
Garry Peters – Major League
Peters played 311 regular season games in the National Hockey League between 1964-65 and 1971-72 with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. He played sparingly with the Habs and was traded in June, 1965, along with Cesare Maniago, to the New York Rangers for Gord Labossiere, Noel Price, Earl Ingarfield and Dave McComb. He would end up back in Montreal a year later.
At the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers took Garry in the tenth round, 57th overall. It was with the Flyers that he saw the bulk of his NHL action. In 1972, Peters again took part in an NHL Expansion Draft, this time going eleventh overall to the New York Islanders. He would never play for New York.
Garry's time with the Boston Bruins was limited. He played just two regular season games for the club in 1971-72. He also dressed for one playoff game for the Bruins. Boston won the Stanley Cup championship that season, beating out the New York Rangers in the finals.
In the World Hockey Association, Peters appeared in 57 regular season games over the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons. In the first year, he played 23 games for the New York Raiders. The following year, he appeared in 34 games for the New York Golden Blades.