After putting in hard work over the last few years and impressing at the Washington Capitals development, rookie and training camps, Peter Laviolette III, the son of head coach Peter Laviolette, earned an ECHL deal with his hometown Wheeling Nailers.
Laviolette III played in his first pro exhibition game on Friday wearing No. 11 and centering the fourth line as the Nailers made their preseason debut against the Fort Wayne Komets. And as he got his first taste of ECHL hockey, he made quite a bit of noise and took West Virginia by storm as he earned first-star honors.
Just minutes into the game, Komets right wing Tristan Pelletier threw an elbow that led to a game misconduct. Laviolette III didn’t take a liking to it at all and stuck up for his teammate, dropping the gloves and going toe-to-toe in his first pro game.
The night wasn’t done there, though. Roughly 12 minutes into the second period, Laviolette III was working on the penalty kill when dished a shorthanded goal on a breakaway for his first ECHL strike to make it a 2-0 hockey game.
Laviolette III was born in Wheeling while Laviolette was serving as the Nailers’ head coach in 1997.
Before the pros, Laviolette III was playing NCAA Division III hockey with Plymouth State. He captained the Panthers and net 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points in 27 games in his final season of college hockey in 2021-22. He also played DIII baseball while attending school up in Maine.
This summer and beyond, he has worked with skating coach Wendy Marco to improve his skating and has also worked on his game tirelessly, putting in effort on and off the ice. And, when given the chance to skate with the Capitals top prospects at camp, he slid right in, stacked up well and showed he was more than just the “coach’s son.”
“That was kind of a worry coming into the camp,” Laviolette III had said of not fitting in. “I was playing Division III, 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. But you know eventually found my legs and got comfortable,” Laviolette III said. “It was easy after that. Everybody made a couple mistakes this week. 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 know my dad’s the coach and I have the same name and everything, but for me to come and be my own person and show my own skill and play a little bit of hockey and show everybody I can play here is just an honor,” Laviolette III said of getting to skate with the NHL club. “I’ve loved every second.”