Florida Panthers Hire First African-American Assistant General Manager in NHL History

Angelina Astic, Copy Editor

On Nov. 17, the Florida Panthers hockey team announced the hiring of Brett Peterson, making him the first African-American Assistant General Manager in the history of the National Hockey League. 

Panthers General Manager Bill Zito hired Peterson alongside the re-hired Paul Krepelka as Assistant General Manager, a role the duo plans to share. The recent hires have become a part of Zito’s mission to reform the Panthers as a whole, working to change many of the upper and lower echelon positions on the team management. 

In a statement released by the Florida Panthers on Nov.17, Peterson shared his excitement about the position and eagerness to get to work.

Peterson previously worked for Wasserman Media Group, a sports marketing and talent management corporation located in Los Angeles, as Vice President of Hockey. Since 2009, he has been a certified NHL player agent, working alongside both Wasserman and Acme World Sports. 

During university, he played for Boston College for a total of four seasons and won a National Collegiate Athletic Association Hockey National Championship in 2001. 

Afterwards, Peterson continued on with his career in hockey, playing professionally as a defenseman for three minor hockey leagues over the span of five years. 

Zito first made Peterson’s acquaintance during his time as a professional player, when Peterson went by the nickname “Chubbs.” He decided to recruit him as a client for his agency known as Acme World Sports. Two years later, Peterson began to work for Acme as a sports agent, which later became known as Wasserman.

As of present day, he offers his services as a consultant to the nonprofit NEXTGEN AAA Foundation hockey team, which provides youth in need access to hockey programs. The team, which consists of all minorities, claimed victory in the 2020 Beantown Summer Classic Tournament. 

Building upon Peterson’s interest in community service, he has pledged to work alongside the Florida Panthers Foundation’s programs, which serve the local communities. These programs work to foster an environment and culture which promotes inclusivity in the hockey world in South Florida. 

Many students at Miami Palmetto Senior High School see the implementation of a more diverse staff in the NHL as a step forward, but believe that more still needs to be done. 

“Peterson’s involvement and recognition will encourage individuals of other ethnicities, like African Americans, to try their hand at hockey,” hockey enthusiast and junior Analysse Humaran said. “While not a lot of diversity is seen in the NHL nowadays, it starts with kids who find a passion for hockey and fostering that passion across most diverse cultures.”