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Maurice Named Leafs Head Coach

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

(May 12, 2006) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Friday that Paul Maurice has been named as the team's new head coach. Maurice, who spent eight seasons as head coach of the Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes, recently completed his first season in that capacity with the Leafs' American Hockey League club the Toronto Marlies.

"Paul Maurice is one of the most highly-regarded young head coaches in the game," said John Ferguson, vice president and general manager of the Leafs. "He did an outstanding job in developing the Hurricanes during his time in Carolina, and earned a reputation for leading teams that were well-prepared and consistently competitive on the ice.

"Paul brings a significant advantage of having a thorough knowledge of the players in our system," Ferguson added. "Thanks in large part to the outstanding leadership role Paul played in accelerating the development of our young players with the Marlies, 12 rookies in our system made their debut with the Leafs this past season and performed well in doing so. Paul brings a new approach to the Leafs that we're confident will make us more competitive in the short-term, and will be instrumental in helping us compete for a Stanley Cup on a consistent basis, and winning the Cup, in the years ahead."

Maurice, the 26th head coach in Maple Leafs history, became the NHL's youngest head coach at only 28 years of age when he was elevated from assistant coach with the Whalers on November 6, 1995. He followed the club to Carolina where he went on to rank first in franchise history in regular season wins (268), games coached (674), playoff wins (17) and playoff games coached (35).

Maurice, 39, guided the Hurricanes to four consecutive winning seasons from 1998-2002, where they captured Southeast Division titles in 1999 and 2002. His club eliminated the Leafs in six games during the Eastern Conference Final in 2002 to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. He became the sixth-youngest coach in league history to reach the Final.

The Marlies posted a record of 41-29-4-6 in their first season in Toronto, under the guidance of Maurice. They advanced to the AHL playoffs, where they were eliminated by the team with the league's best regular season record, Grand Rapids, in five games.

"I'd like to thank John Ferguson and the ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs for having the confidence in me to lead this team into the future," said Maurice. "I welcome the challenges that are before us to return the Leafs to the
playoffs, and ultimately to the Stanley Cup. We have a number of talented young players in our system to complement a corps of outstanding veterans, and under John's leadership we have a plan in place to take us forward that I'm very excited about.

"Coaching the Leafs is one of the preeminent positions in hockey, and one that I'm honoured to take on," Maurice added. "We have an organization and a huge following of fans around the world who all share the same goal that I have - the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. This franchise has had a level of success in recent years that few clubs have matched. It's my intent to build upon that success."

A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Maurice played his junior hockey with the OHL's Windsor Compuware Spitfires (1984-88). He had his career cut short due to an eye injury and began coaching as an assistant with the Detroit Junior Red Wings shortly thereafter. He served six seasons in that capacity before taking over as head coach of the club in the 1993-94 season. While in Detroit, Maurice compiled a regular season record of 86-38-8 and led the team to the 1995 OHL Championship and an appearance in the Memorial Cup in Kamloops, British Columbia. That season he finished second in voting to Guelph's Craig Hartsburg for the Matt Leyden Trophy, which is given annually to the OHL's coach of the year.

HEAD COACHING RECORD

     
REGULAR SEASON
PLAYOFFS
Year Team Lge
G
W
L
T
OTL
G
W
L
1993-94 Detroit OHL
66
42
20
4
--
17
11
6
1994-95 Detroit OHL
66
44
18
4
--
21
16
5
1995-96 Hartford NHL
70
29
33
8
--
--
--
--
1996-97 Hartford NHL
82
32
39
11
--
--
--
--
1997-98 Carolina NHL
82
33
41
8
--
--
--
--
1998-99 Carolina NHL
82
34
30
18
--
6
2
4
1999-00 Carolina NHL
82
37
35
10
0
--
--
--
2000-01 Carolina NHL
82
38
32
9
3
6
2
4
2001-02 Carolina NHL
82
35
26
16
5
23
13
10
2002-03 Carolina NHL
82
22
43
11
6
--
--
--
2003-04 Carolina NHL
30
8
12
8
2
--
--
--
2005-06 Toronto AHL
80
41
29
4*
6
5
1
4
NHL TOTALS    
674
268
291
99
16
35
17
18

*Denotes Shootout Losses
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