The Florida Panthers made what could be a historical hire on Tuesday, officially naming Brett Peterson as one of the team’s two assistant general managers under Bill Zito.
Peterson, who worked with Zito as a player agent in the past, is thought to be the first Black assistant GM in NHL history with the hiring coming less than a week after the Miami Marlins made Kim Ng the first female general manager in MLB history.
Frank Seravalli of TSN was first to report the news on Monday.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity with the Panthers and with Bill’s growing front office team,” Peterson said Tuesday.
“It’s a special day for myself and my family and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Said Zito: “His substantive hockey experience as a player, significant developmental and evaluation skills, and business acumen as a negotiator combine to form an elite skill set that is very difficult to find in our sport.
”There are many who can excel in one of those disciplines, but few who excel in all three.”
Hearing player agent Brett Peterson, of Acme World Sports / now Wasserman, plans to reunite with former colleague Bill Zito as assistant GM with #FlaPanthers.
Florida’s front office hierarchy will all have cut their teeth in the agent business, incl recently hired Paul Krepelka.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 17, 2020
Zito got his start in the league as a player agent, helping create the powerhouse agency Acme World Sports before leaving to join Jarmo Kekolainen in the front office of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013.
Peterson, 39, worked with Zito at Acme and was a vice president with Wasserman after they acquired Acme earlier this year.
A former defenseman at Boston College (where he helped the Eagles win the 2001 national championship), Peterson played five professional seasons in the minor leagues mostly in the ECHL including two years with the Florida Everblades in Estero.
Peterson joined Zito at Acme soon after his playing career ended and he went to Wasserman after that firm acquired Acme.
You can read more about Brett Peterson’s road to becoming a player agent in this story published by ColorOfHockey.com RIGHT HERE.
Since leaving Columbus for the Panthers in September as Dale Tallon’s replacement, Zito has overhauled the Florida front office.
Zito’s first moves were hiring former NHL general managers Rick Dudley and Paul Fenton as special advisors to the GM.
Last month, Paul Krepelka was hired from the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant GM.
He, like Peterson and Zito, has an extensive background as a player agent, and was a co-founder of the Orr Hockey Group.
Eric Joyce, who was Florida’s ASG in charge of the team’s minor league affiliates, was let go and left the team to join the Toronto Maple Leafs as their director of hockey strategy.
Amateur scouting director Jason Bukala was also not retained.
Zito brought in Gregory Campbell (VP of player personnel and development), Blake Geoffrion and Tom Bark (both as assistant to the GM) from Columbus.
Campbell was drafted by the Panthers in 2002 and played in 363 games for Florida before being traded to Boston in 2010.
Dudley was Florida’s GM (and, at one time, interim head coach) from 2002-04.