Paul Maurice said has every intention of staying as coach of the Winnipeg Jets while addressing rumors that he'll take over the NHL Seattle expansion team before it begins play in the 2021-22 season.
"I'm here as long as [Jets executive chairman Mark Chipman] and [general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff] want me to be here," Maurice said Monday. "This is home for me. I love this place. I'm not looking to go anywhere. It'll be kicking and screaming on the way out, that'll be how that transition happens. So I don't know, it's a little unusual that the speculation is related to a coach that has a job. Usually it's the three or four guys that are out. It's also something that's kind of down the road.
"I've worked with [NHL Seattle GM Ron Francis]. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for Ron, but this is my home. I don't want to go anywhere else."
Maurice coached Francis with the Hurricanes from 1998-99 to 2003-04, and they worked together with the Hurricanes from 2008-12, including three seasons (2008-09 to 2010-11) for Francis as an associate coach on Maurice's staff.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said during the "31 Thoughts Podcast" released last Thursday that he's been told Maurice could become Seattle coach. Maurice signed a multiyear extension with the Jets on Sept. 7, 2017 and Friedman said he also understood that this season is the final year of that contract.
"I value, far more than necessarily the security of a contract, I value the enjoyment of being in a place that you feel you fit," the 52-year-old Maurice said. "That's really important to me now. I mean, I'm not going to live until I'm 170, so these are important years but fun years for me, too, to coach. I want to enjoy it. I want to enjoy the group. Not everything's going to be smooth all the time, there's always going to be wrinkles, but that's paramount for me, to enjoy my life, enjoy my job coaching here. So my contract really isn't an issue."
Seattle could reveal logo designs and colors in February or March, perhaps at the same time it announces the name of the League's 32nd team, president and CEO Tod Leiweke said following his presentation to the NHL Board of Governors on Dec. 9. Whether Maurice will be a part of Seattle's future is unknown, but he reiterated that he's enjoyed his time in Winnipeg, which hired him to replace Claude Noel on Jan. 12, 2014. He's in his 22nd season as an NHL coach. He's one of eight coaches with at least 700 NHL wins (715-76-66, 22 ties) with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Jets.
The Jets are 20-11-2 entering their game against the Hurricanes at Bell MTS Place on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TSN3, FS-CR, NHL.TV).
"Whether I have a lifetime contract here or I'm getting paid by the hour here, nothing changes," Maurice said. "This is all about having the right guy at the right time to coach the Winnipeg Jets. That fit's really important. I'm a little unusual in my tenure and my age. I feel I'm very unusual because I found a place that you just love living in, love coaching in, you just want to be a part of, you feel like you're a part of the growth.
"I just can't see that changing. We all know that coaches, it changes for some. I don't feel that we're close to that. I plan on being here for a long time."