Devils coach Pete DeBoer doesn’t know who his opponent will be in the Eastern Conference Finals, but if it turns out to be the Washington Capitals and their coach Dale Hunter, he’ll be well prepared.
Although Hunter hasn’t been coaching in the NHL for very long, the two have a history that dates back to their days in the OHL.
DeBoer took over the Kitchener Rangers in 2001-02 while Hunter assumed control of the division rival London Knights that season. They coached those teams until DeBoer found work with the Florida Panthers in 2008-09.
“It was always an intense competition between the London Knights and the Kitchener Rangers,” DeBoer said in December. “We were in the same division, coaches in cities about an hour apart. Those battles at that level, especially when you’re coaching against a guy for six, seven, eight years they get pretty heated.”
DeBoer said the two coaches “an intense rivalry” at the time. That rivalry will be rekindled if the Washington Capitals defeat the New York Rangers in Game 7 on Saturday.