Marlies name Maurice head coach

John Ferguson, vice-president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Friday the appointment of Paul Maurice as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.

“Paul brings a great deal of coaching experience to the Marlies and he was our number one choice for the job,” said Ferguson. “We believe that he is going to enhance the development of our American Hockey League players so that they will be ready to contribute when they earn the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League.”

Maurice, 38, spent parts of nine seasons as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes franchise. He became the tenth coach in the history of the franchise, and the youngest NHL head coach at the time, when he joined the Hartford Whalers 12 games into the season on November 6, 1995. He is the franchise leader in games coached (674), regular season wins (268), playoff wins (17), and playoff games coached (35).

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native led the franchise to their first Stanley Cup Final berth when the Hurricanes defeated the Maple Leafs in six games to win the 2002 Eastern Conference title. In doing so, he became the sixth-youngest coach in league history to reach the Final. Maurice’s teams captured the Southeast Division title in 1999 and 2002 and the Hurricanes achieved four consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history between 1998 and 2002. His tenure with the franchise was the longest of all NHL coaches prior to the start of the 2003-04 NHL season.

Maurice, who was a member of the Compuware hockey organization for 17 years, joined the Hartford Whalers in June of 1995 as an assistant coach. He spent the previous two seasons as the head coach of the Detroit Junior Red Wings in the Ontario Hockey League. The Junior Wings captured the OHL Western Division regular season championship in 1995 and played for the 1995 Memorial Cup by winning the OHL playoffs.

His junior playing career (1984-1988) with the OHL’s Windsor Compuware Spitfires was cut short by an eye injury and he began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Detroit Junior Red Wings. He served six seasons in that capacity before taking over as head coach of the club in the 1993-94 season.