Former NHL player Peter Douris instructs the York High boys’ hockey team during a practice at Churchill Rink in Durham, New Hampshire, last week. Douris has two sons on the team: Luke, a senior, and Maclean, a junior. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

When conversation turns to the most famous goal his father scored during his National Hockey League career, Luke Douris can’t help but tease his dad about it sometimes.

That would be on May 5, 1992, when Peter Douris deflected a pass under the pads of future Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, giving the Boston Bruins a 3-2 overtime win at the Montreal Forum and a 2-0 playoff series lead over the Canadiens in a series Boston went on to sweep.

“That one comes up at family gatherings and whatnot. Sometimes we joke about it, say it went off his knee,” said Luke Douris, a senior captain on the York High boys’ hockey team. “He’ll never be talking about it. It will be somebody else who brings it up.”

These days, Peter Douris puts his hockey experience to use as the head coach at York High. A veteran of 11 NHL seasons – including four years with the Bruins – Douris scored 54 career goals with 67 assists.

“I think it’s amazing we have a coach who played in the NHL. Not a lot of teams have that,” said senior Aidan McQuaide, the team’s goalie and a captain. “I mean, he played in the NHL. That’s a good guy to learn from.”

The list of Maine high school hockey coaches who played in the NHL is short. It includes former coaches Dan Lucas at Cheverus, Jay Mazur at Scarborough and Dan Bolduc at Messalonskee in Oakland.


Douris, 57, had the most accomplished hockey career of them all. A forward, his pro career spanned 17 years, including stints with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Dallas Stars. In all, he played in 321 NHL games.

A native of Toronto, Douris played two seasons of college hockey at the University of New Hampshire before joining the Winnipeg Jets in 1985, a year after they drafted him 30th overall in the NHL draft. In 1989, he signed as a free agent with Boston, scoring 24 goals in 148 regular-season games and three goals in 26 playoff games over a four-year span.

After he retired from playing in 2002, Douris felt a connection to New England from his days at UNH and with the Bruins, which included time with the American Hockey League’s original Maine Mariners – a Bruins’ minor league team – in Portland. He moved to Maine, where he met his wife, Abigail. They settled in York, where they run a real estate firm and raise their sons, Luke, and Maclean, a junior on the York hockey team.

“I know the game backwards, forwards and sideways,” says Peter Douris, whose 17-year pro career included a stint with the Boston Bruins from 1989-93. “Some of these players, this will be the ultimate they’re going to be doing, playing high school hockey in York. I think sometimes I have to check myself and remember that.” Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Douris coached his sons throughout youth hockey, and became York’s coach late in the 2021-22 season after former coach Kevin Purdy stepped down for health and family reasons. Last season, Douris’ first full season on the Wildcats’ bench, York went 12-8-1, advancing to the Class B South final after knocking off top seed and defending state champion Brunswick, 5-2, in the regional semifinals. Expectations are high this season for the Wildcats (2-2), who feel like they can contend for their first state title since 2011.

“We do have some guys, this is the first real chance they’ve had to play. They’ve been on the team, maybe they’re sophomores or juniors just getting their chance now for significant ice time,” Douris said before a recent practice at Churchill Rink in Durham, New Hampshire.

“We work hard in practice. We work on all the little things we need to do. That’s sort of the personality of this team. We try to take care of the little things, and we take some pride in those little things.”


In that regard, the Wildcats have taken on the personality of their coach. Douris was never a star in the NHL, and bounced between the NHL and AHL, the highest minor league, throughout his career before finishing with four seasons in a German professional league. Doing the little things is how Douris got ice time in the NHL.

Peter Wotton is the athletic director at Dover High in New Hampshire, and was teammate of Douris’ at UNH. Attention to detail was a big piece of Douris’ game even then, Wotton said.

“He was clearly an exceptional hockey player, and not a flashy hockey player,” Wotton said. “He did everything right. Cleary, I’m not blowing smoke because he played for the Canadian National Team and the Bruins. He didn’t do that by simply relying on talent.”

Peter Douris, right, of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, tries to keep Ray Ferraro of the New York Rangers from breaking away during a game on Nov. 3, 1995. Douris played in 11 NHL seasons, including stints with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars. Michael Caulfield/Associated Press, file

With a lifetime in hockey and having played at the highest levels, Douris reminds himself daily that not all of his players approach the game with the same zeal he does.

“I know the game backwards, forwards and sideways. Some of these players, this will be the ultimate they’re going to be doing, playing high school hockey in York. I think sometimes I have to check myself and remember that,” Douris said.

“That’s just part of coaching. We say that all the time. Whether you’ve got little tykes on the ice learning to skate, or you’re coaching professionally, coaching is coaching. You’re just trying to teach. That’s really how I look at it.”


Luke Douris said his father has coached him as long as he’s been on skates. Luke sees his dad’s even temperament and ability to explain hockey in simple terms as his best coaching assets.

“He doesn’t ride the highs very high or ride the lows very low,” Luke Douris said. “That’s what makes him so great. Yes, he played at that high level, but he has a way of explaining everything to us and make everything make sense. Hockey is a very difficult sport to learn, and I think he does a great job teaching us the game.”

York High boys’ hockey coach Peter Douris works with the team during practice at Churchill Rink in Durham, New Hampshire, last week. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A goalie, McQuaide doesn’t get the X’s and O’s coaching from Douris like his teammates, but still benefits from working with a former NHL player.

“When he shoots on me, it’s still NHL caliber. Even though he’s a little bit older, he still has that shot,” McQuaide said.

One thing Peter Douris didn’t expect to enjoy was the 20-mile bus rides from York High to the practices in Durham. Yet when he’s on the bus with his team on the way to Churchill Rink, Douris feels that anticipation of getting on the ice, like he did when he was playing.

“I’ve known a lot of the kids, a lot of the parents. My kids have played with them for years,” Douris said. “The community’s been welcoming. I was sitting in the stands as a father for years, now to flip around and be the coach, they’ve all been good.”

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