Top Ad
I DIG Radio
www.idigradio.com
Listen live to the best music from around the world!
I DIG Style
www.idigstyle.com
Learn about the latest fashion styles and more...

Maurice took unusual path to coaching Panthers

Written by 
Published in Hockey
Thursday, 23 June 2022 10:15

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Paul Maurice's journey toward becoming the new coach of the Florida Panthers included a fortuitous flick of the remote control, plus was aided by a college admissions department.

He was watching games one night in January, a month or so after he stepped aside as coach of the Winnipeg Jets. He stumbled upon the Panthers and quickly told his wife that he was intrigued by their club.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and Maurice's son got admitted to the University of Miami. It was another sign.

"I'm thinking, 'Hey, this could be good,'" Maurice said.

The Panthers hope he's right. Maurice was introduced Thursday as Florida's new coach, with the team emphasizing it found in a monthlong search that his experience -- he has the fourth-most games and seventh-most wins of any coach in NHL history -- makes him the right fit.

"When we spoke to Paul Maurice, it was overwhelming that this was the man to be a real fit," said Panthers general manager Bill Zito. "He was the fit to take us into the challenges that are ahead of us moving forward, as we move forward to ultimately what our goal is."

Zito called Maurice last week to start the interview process, which led to his hiring. Zito was a longtime agent in the NHL but had never actually met Maurice, though had several players who had played for him through the years.

Whatever Zito said to Maurice worked, and worked quickly.

"The interview process was wonderful," Maurice said. "I don't know how much time you spend with Bill, but he can jack you up about hockey in about 15 minutes, right? So, I'm in a lather an hour into the meeting and ready to go. And that's what drives me, and that's what I love. Really smart, passionate people that want to put on not just a great game, but a great program for the community."

The Panthers will become the fourth franchise that Maurice coaches. He started in Hartford in 1995, two seasons before that franchise relocated to Carolina. He coached Toronto for two seasons before returning to Carolina, then spent nearly nine years as coach in Winnipeg before stepping down there in December.

Maurice simply felt like he needed a break. And then he watched the Panthers play from his couch about a month later. He no longer needed a break, and that feeling was cemented when he began his talks with Zito.

"They're working on things," Maurice said. "They have a plan if this happens, a plan if this happens. And they're ready to work and you know right away, 'I want to be a part of this.' So that switch got flipped real fast and it wasn't from, 'I'm not coaching anymore.' It was, 'I'm only going to a place that I think I can make a difference.'"

Maurice has been an NHL head coach for the better part of 30 years, and has yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Same goes for the Panthers. They made the Stanley Cup Final in 1996, were moribund for most of the next quarter-century, then got things rolling in recent years. They won the Presidents' Trophy this season and have most of their star core -- Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, Sergei Bobrovsky and more -- under contract for at least next season.

They have some roster questions, some salary-cap complexities to navigate this summer and it remains unclear if Andrew Brunette -- who was promoted from assistant to interim coach when Joel Quenneville had to step down last fall -- will be back with Florida. The Panthers want him to stay, as does Maurice.

But the end goal is clear: The only thing that'll make next year an absolute success is hockey's ultimate prize, and Maurice says he's raring to get started.

"Certainly, that is the aspiration and where we want to get to," Maurice said. "But we can't make a Cup run in October, or in training camp. So, what we have to do from Day 1, and a daily basis, is prepare in that work. And that has to be our focus. We're not coming in Day 1 and say, 'We're gonna win the Stanley Cup' because we can't win it that day."

Read 14 times

Soccer

Ex-Dutch international Pauw reveals sexual abuse

Ex-Dutch international Pauw reveals sexual abuse

Former Netherlands international Vera Pauw said on Friday she was sexually abused by three men emplo...

Sources: Chelsea to install ex-City, Panthers exec

Sources: Chelsea to install ex-City, Panthers exec

Chelsea are set to appoint former City Football Group executive and Carolina Panthers president Tom...

Tottenham sign Richarlison from Everton

Tottenham sign Richarlison from Everton

Tottenham Hotspur have completed the signing of Richarlison from Everton, it was announced on Friday...

Basketball

Sources: Jazz trading Gobert to Wolves for 4 1sts

Sources: Jazz trading Gobert to Wolves for 4 1sts

The Utah Jazz agreed to trade center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster deal...

Sources: Celtics get Brogdon in trade with Pacers

Sources: Celtics get Brogdon in trade with Pacers

The Boston Celtics acquired Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers on Friday, sources told ESPN's A...

Baseball

Red Sox's Sale to get another rehab start, 'close'

Red Sox's Sale to get another rehab start, 'close'

CHICAGO -- Chris Sale will make at least one more minor league rehab start before the Boston Red Sox...

Marlins fire exec Denbo, one of Jeter's first hires

Marlins fire exec Denbo, one of Jeter's first hires

MIAMI -- Derek Jeter's first significant hire when he was leading the Miami Marlins is no longer wit...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation

About Us

I Dig® is a leading global brand that makes it more enjoyable to surf the internet, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information.  Today I Dig® attracts millions of users every month.

 

Phone: (800) 737. 6040
Fax: (800) 825 5558
Website: www.idig.com
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Affiliated