Brett Peterson named USA Hockey GM for 2024 worlds

Florida Panthers assistant general manager Brett Peterson is the new general manager for the 2024 United States men's national team, becoming the first Black executive to hold that position.

Peterson, 42, will lead the effort to build the Team USA roster for the 2024 IIHF men's world championship, which is scheduled for May 10-26 in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia.

"He has done a terrific job in helping build the Florida Panthers, and his extensive knowledge of the overall player pool in our country will be really beneficial in putting together our team for the world championship," said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, who led the selection process.

Peterson previously made history as the first Black assistant general manager in the NHL when he was hired by the Florida Panthers in 2020. Before that, he was vice president of hockey for Wasserman Media Group and was a certified NHL player agent. He played four seasons for Boston College from 2000 to '04.

"I'm just happy to keep going and making sure that we don't have to even have [these milestones] anymore," Peterson told ESPN. "I happen to be a person of color. I fell in love with the games and it's been extraordinarily good to me. I think it's part of my duty and service to continue make it accessible for everybody, so they can have the kind of experiences that I've been lucky enough to have."

Bill Zito, general manager of the Florida Panthers, said Peterson has been "an integral part of our management and scouting departments" since arriving with the team.

"I'm not only happy for him, but I'm happy for USA Hockey," he said.

In building the roster, Peterson said it's as much about how the personalities of the players fit together as their skillset. The difference between the world championship team roster and other national teams is that he won't be sure how deep the player pool is until he sees which NHL teams fall out of championship contention before worlds.

"It is a little bit of 'hurry up and wait,' but you're always thinking about the next step and thinking about what possibly could happen," he said.

Peterson will be assisted by the U.S. men's national team advisory group, led by Vanbiesbrouck. It includes NHL general managers Kevyn Adams (Buffalo Sabres), Craig Conroy (Calgary Flames), Chris Drury (New York Rangers), Tom Fitzgerald (New Jersey Devils), Mike Grier (San Jose Sharks), Bill Guerin (Minnesota Wild), Lou Lamoriello (New York Islanders), Chris MacFarland (Colorado Avalanche), Don Waddell (Carolina Hurricanes) and Zito.

Peterson said it's an honor to be able to build a U.S. hockey roster in search of world championship gold, which the nation hasn't won since 1960. The Americans have won bronze medals in three of the last eight tournaments (2021, 2018 and 2015).

"You don't do it for personal accolades. You do it for the honor of being able to serve and to represent our country appropriately and passionately," he said.