The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Wednesday that head coach Paul Maurice and assistant coach Randy Ladouceur have been relieved of their duties. Assistant coach Dallas Eakins has been offered a position elsewhere in the organization. Keith Acton will remain as an assistant coach.
“My objective is to create the best environment possible for the next Leafs general manager to bring in his own staff and to create a new culture around the team,” said interim general manager Cliff Fletcher in making the announcement. “Since the season ended we’ve spent considerable time evaluating our organization and how best to move it forward. Paul has been in a difficult position for several months. Making this decision now also provides the best opportunity for Paul to pursue all options potentially open to him.”
Maurice, who was named head coach of the Leafs on May 12, 2006 following one season as head coach of the club’s American Hockey League affiliate the Toronto Marlies, compiled a record of 76 wins, 66 losses and 22 overtime/shootout losses with the Blue and White. He reached the milestone of 800 NHL games coached with the Leafs’ January 10, 2008 game at Los Angeles.
Maurice posted a record of 41-29-4-6 leading the Marlies into the playoffs following the 2005-06 regular season. He had spent more than eight seasons behind the bench with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes starting November 6, 1995 at the age of 28. The Hurricanes achieved four consecutive winning seasons from 1998-2002. They captured the Southeast Division titles in 1999 and 2002, and appeared in the Stanley Cup Final in 2002.
Ladouceur served on Maurice’s staff in Carolina from 1997 to 2004 and joined him behind the Leafs’ bench the past two seasons. He held the role of director of player development and pro scout for Carolina from January 2004 to December 2005.
Eakins, who played for the Maple Leafs during the 1998-99 season, was an assistant coach under Maurice during the Marlies’ 2005-06 campaign before moving with Maurice to join the Leafs.
Acton finished his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Leafs. He was appointed to the Toronto staff in August 2000 after spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers. Prior to that he was an assistant/associate coach with the Philadelphia Flyers for four seasons.