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Maurice is the Maple Leafs Man

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
May 12, 2006

John Ferguson congratulates his new head coach
TORONTO (CP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs made it official Friday.

The NHL club named Paul Maurice as its new head coach, succeeding Pat Quinn, who was fired April 20.

Maurice was considered the heir apparent to Quinn when he was hired last year as the head coach of the AHL's Toronto Marlies. However, it wasn't until Friday that the NHL club formally announced Maurice's promotion.

Contract details were not immediately available.

Leafs GM John Ferguson reportedly met with the board of team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment on Tuesday, and recommended Maurice for the job.

"I did know from Day 1 that Paul was brought in here to coach, his capabilities as an NHL coach had been demonstrated for seven-plus years with Carolina-Hartford,'' Ferguson said. "Out of respect for this organization it was the right thing to do for our organization to conduct an appropriate process.

"He is an ideal candidate for us and far away the best fit for us going forward.''

Maurice takes over a Maple Leafs squad the missed the NHL playoffs for the first time since 1997-'98 after registering a record of 41-33-8 to finish ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind eighth-place Tampa Bay.

Maurice, 39, becomes the 26th head coach in Maple Leafs' history.

"It's humbling in a lot of ways to be charged with task of coaching this team,'' he said.

Maurice led the Marlies to a 41-29-6-4 record and fourth-place finish in the Western Conference's North Division. But the club's season ended with a loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the opening round of the playoffs.

He was hired as the Marlies head coach June 24, 2005 after the franchise relocated from St. John's, N.L.

Maurice, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., began his coaching career with the OHL's Detroit Jr. Red Wings in 1993, leading the club to the Memorial Cup final in 1995. He then was hired as the head coach of the then Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes) in 1995 at the age of 28.

Maurice led the Hurricanes to the 2001-'02 Stanley Cup final before losing to the Detroit Red Wings. He was fired by Carolina in 2003 after coaching 674 regular-season games with the club, compiling a 268-307-99 over nine seasons.

Maurice's leap into coaching is directly related to an eye injury he suffered as a 17-year-old when a shot from the point during a charity game deflected off the shaft of his stick.

It was the season before visors became mandatory in the OHL and he was left with only peripheral vision in his right eye. It removed the possibility of an NHL career as the Philadelphia Flyers drafted Maurice 252nd, last overall in 1985 and he attended two training camps with the club.

Toronto Maple Leafs Coaching History

Year Head Coach
1926-30 Conn Smythe
1930-31 Art Duncan
1931-40 Dick Irvin
1940-50 Hap Day
1950-53 Joe Primeau
1953-56 King Clancy
1956-57 Howie Meeker
1957-59 Billy Reay
1959-69 Punch Imlach
1966-67 King Clancy
1969-73 John McLellan
1971-72 King Clancy
1973-77 Red Kelly
1977-79 Roger Neilson
1979-80 Floyd Smith
Punch Imlach
1980-81 Joe Crozier
1981-84 Mike Nykoluk
1984-86 Dan Maloney
1986-88 John Brophy
1988-89 George Armstrong
1989-90 Doug Carpenter
1990-92 Tom Watt
1992-96 Pat Burns
1996 Nick Beverley
1996-98 Mike Murphy
1998-06 Pat Quinn
2006 Paul Maurice
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