ARLINGTON, V.A. — Peter Laviolette III has shown that he is more than just the coach’s son through Washington Capitals development, rookie and training camps, and now, his hard work has paid off as he heads to the pros.
On Tuesday, Laviolette III signed a deal with the Wheeling Nailers, the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 24-year-old forward was born in Wheeling, while his father was coaching the Nailers in 1997-98, where his team went 37-24-9 and made it to the Northern Conference Finals.
This will mark Laviolette III’s first pro hockey season. He most recently played four years of NCAA Division III hockey at Plymouth State University. In 2021-22, the 6-4, 200-pound forward wore the “C” for the Panthers and dished 11 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 26 games. He finished his NCAA D3 career with 60 points in 97 games while also capturing four regular-season championships and three MSCAC tournament titles.
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Laviolette III spent the offseason working with skating coach Wendy Marco and training in Arlington, V.A. at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. He also took part in the Capitals’ development and rookie camps, fitting right in with the top prospects while scoring some impressive baseball-style goals to boot.
“I was playing Division 3, so a lot of these guys play at a higher level [and] I knew I was going to have to step up my pace a little bit here. I think the first day just finding my legs with these guys and really just getting comfortable out there,” Laviolette III said of adapting to the NHL pace. “But you know eventually found my legs and got comfortable was easy after that… Can’t sweat the small things you got to move on. Just play your game at the end of the day… it’s a lot different.
“I’ve always been in an NHL locker room because of my dad. And I’ve always been able to see it from like a kid’s standpoint and an outsider’s standpoint,” Laviolette III explained back at camp. “But being [at camp], I just can’t say it enough. I’m just truly happy to be here and enjoy this experience with all you guys, with all the teammates, all the boys, the staff… I just can’t thank these guys enough for an incredible time.”
Laviolette III is still at Capitals training camp, wearing No. 81. The Nailers kick off the 2022-23 regular season against the Toledo Walleye on Oct. 22.