Peter Laviolette was a defenceman who played 12 games with the New York Rangers in 1988-89. Although his NHL career was short, he was a solid playmaker in the minors and on the US national team. He entered the 2001-02 season as the new head coach of the New York Islanders.
Born in Norwood, Massachusetts, Laviolette played his amateur hockey at nearby Westfield State College. Undrafted and unsigned, he scored 30 points and played a hard-nosed style on the CHL's Indianapolis Checkers in 1986-87. A few months later he signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers then joined the national team program. Laviolette registered 24 points in 54 exhibition matches then represented his country at the Calgary Olympics. Following the tournament he made his pro debut with the Colorado Rangers of the IHL.
Apart from his brief recall to New York, Laviolette was chiefly a regular in the IHL and AHL. He came to terms with the Boston Bruins in September, 1992 but this only meant a switch from Binghamton to Providence of the AHL. In 1993-94, the hard-working blueliner committed to Team USA and played in the Lillehammer Olympics. He then played three more years in the minors before hanging up his skates in 1997.
Following his playing career Laviolette stayed in the game as the head coach of the ECHL's Wheeling Thunderbirds in 1997-98. After leading the club to the semifinals he served as the coach of the AHL's Providence Bruins for two years. In 1998-99 Laviolette was named the top coach in the league after guiding the Bruins to the Calder Cup. In 2000-01 he was promoted by Boston to serve as Pat Burns' assistant, a job he kept when Mike Keenan was brought in part way through the season.