Paul Maurice (born January 30, 1967) is a Canadian former ice hockey player and current head coach of the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL). At age 43, Maurice became the youngest coach in NHL history to coach 1,000 games, reaching the milestone on November 28, 2010.
Originally a defenceman in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Maurice’s playing career ended after an eye injury. Maurice formerly coached the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise from 1995 to 2003 and the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2006 to 2008. On December 3, 2008, Maurice was re-hired by the Hurricanes after the firing of Peter Laviolette, who had replaced him in 2003. On November 28, 2011, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that he had been fired for a second time, whereupon, after a brief stint coaching Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), he joined the Winnipeg Jets in January 2014.
Maurice began playing with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 1984–85, appearing in 38 games with the club and earning three assists. He was held off the scoresheet in four playoff games, as Windsor was swept by the London Knights in the first round. After his rookie season, Maurice was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 12th round, 252nd overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
Maurice saw increased playing time with the Spitfires in 1985–86, playing in 56 games, scoring three goals and 13 points and helping the club reach the post-season once again. In 16 playoff games, Maurice had two assists as Windsor eventually lost in the Emms Division Finals to the Guelph Platers in six games.
Maurice continued to improve as a player with Windsor in the 1986–87 season, as he appeared in 63 games, scoring four goals and 19 points. The Spitfires would again make the post-season, and in 14 games, Maurice had two goals and three points as Windsor lost to the North Bay Centennials in the division finals.
Maurice began the 1987–88 season playing with the Spitfires, and in 32 games, he had a goal and five points. He then suffered an eye injury after a puck ricocheted off his stick during a charity hockey game that he was participating in. As a result of the incident, he still has a blind spot and suffers fuzziness on the right side of his vision. When goaltender Pat Jablonski was sent down to the Spitfires by the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, the club was forced to vacate a spot on the team to accommodate him. Singled out, Maurice was given the option by team owner Peter Karmanos to be traded or to become an assistant coach with team. Choosing the latter, Maurice retired from hockey and focused his career on coaching.
GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes; +/– = Plus/minus; PP = Powerplay goals; SH = Shorthanded goals; GW = Game-winning goals
Maurice began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Spitfires after he retired as a player due to an eye injury. He began working under head coach Tom Webster. The Spitfires finished the 1987–88 season with the best record in the league, going 50–14–2. In the playoffs, Windsor swept the Kitchener Rangers, Hamilton Steelhawks and Peterborough Petes to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup and earn a berth in the 1988 Memorial Cup. In the round-robin portion of the tournament, the Spitfires went 3–0, outscoring the opposition 18–9, and clinched a position in the Memorial Cup final. In the final game, the Spitfires were upset by the Medicine Hat Tigers, losing 7–6.
Maurice spent his first full season with the club in 1988–89, as the rebuilding club struggled to a 25–37–4 record, earning 54 points, however, the team reached the playoffs. In the first round of the post-season, the Spitfires were swept by the Niagara Falls Thunder in four games.
The rebuilding Spitfires had a new head coach for the 1989–90, as Tom Webster left to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, and Brad Smith was hired to take his place. Windsor struggled to a 17–41–8 record, finishing in last place in the Emms Division, and failed to make the playoffs.
Maurice left his job as an assistant coach with the Spitfires in the summer of 1990, opting to join Peter Karmanos, who became the owner of the expansion team, the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors. Maurice was hired as an assistant coach under Head Coach Andy Weidenbach.
During their expansion season in 1990–91 ohio football uniforms, the Ambassadors struggled to a record of 11–50–5, earning 27 points and finishing in last place in the Emms Division, failing to reach the playoffs.
The Ambassadors continued to struggle in 1991–92, as the club replaced Andy Weidenbach midway through the season with Jim Rutherford. Detroit finished the year with a 23–42–1 record, a 20-point improvement over the previous season, and made the post-season for the first time in team history. In the post-season, the Ambassadors nearly upset the heavily favoured Niagara Falls Thunder, taking them to a seventh game, before ultimately losing.
In 1992–93, the Ambassadors renamed their team, becoming the Detroit Jr. Red Wings. Maurice remained an assistant, as the club hired Tom Webster, who had coached Maurice as a player with the Windsor Spitfires. Maurice also worked with Webster as an assistant coach with the Spitfires from 1988 until 1989. The Jr. Red Wings improved their record to 37–22–7, earning 81 points, and marked the first time in team history they finished over .500. In the playoffs, Detroit defeated the Guelph Storm and London Knights before losing in five games to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the division finals.
The Jr. Red Wings promoted Maurice to head coach of the club in 199394, after Tom Webster was relieved of his duties due to a disagreement in team policies. Maurice hired Peter DeBoer as his assistant. Maurice and DeBoer were close friends and teammates whilst with the Windsor Spitfires. In his first season as head coach, Maurice led the Jr. Red Wings to the best record in the Emms Division, as Detroit went 42–20–4, earning a first round bye in the playoffs. Detroit would then defeat the Owen Sound Platers and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to earn a berth in the OHL finals against the North Bay Centennials. In the final round, the Centennials defeated the Jr. Red Wings in a tough seven-game series, winning the final game in overtime.
In 1994–95, the Jr. Red Wings improved their record once again, as the club went 44–18–4, earning 92 points, and first place in the newly created West Division. In the post-season, Detroit swept the London Knights, Peterborough Petes and Sudbury Wolves, earning their second-straight season of playing in the J. Ross Robertson Cup final. In the final round against the Guelph Storm, Detroit defeated the Storm in six games, winning the championship and earning a berth in the 1995 Memorial Cup. At the Memorial Cup, Detroit finished the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 2–1 record, setting up a semi-final match-up with the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Jr. Red Wings defeated Brandon 2–1, earning a place in the Memorial Cup Final against the host team, the Kamloops Blazers. In the last game, the Blazers routed the Jr. Red Wings, winning 8–2.
Maurice joined the Hartford Whalers, who were recently purchased by Detroit Jr. Red Wings owner Peter Karmanos, as an assistant coach under Head Coach Paul Holmgren. After the Whalers struggled to a 5–6–1 record to begin the season, the Whalers fired Holmgren and promoted Maurice to become the head coach. At the age of 28, Maurice became the second youngest coach in National Hockey League history, behind only Gary Green, who was 26 when he took the helm of Washington Capitals in 1979.
Maurice coached his first game on November 7, 1995, as the Whalers defeated the San Jose Sharks 7–3. Under Maurice, Hartford went 29–33–8, failing to qualify for the 1996 playoffs. In 1996–97, the Whalers continued to struggle, going 32–39–11, earning 75 points and finishing in tenth place in the Eastern Conference, two points out of the playoffs.
The Whalers franchise moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1997–98 and were renamed the Carolina Hurricanes; Maurice was retained as head coach of the club. The Hurricanes struggled in their first season after the relocation, going 33–41–8, finishing in last place in the Northeast Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference, missing the playoffs. In 1998–99, the Hurricanes moved to the newly created Southeast Division and finished the year with a 34–30–18 record, earning 86 points, which was good enough for first place in the Division. In the 1999 playoffs, the Hurricanes were the third seed in the Eastern Conference, despite having the eighth-best record in the Conference, setting up a first round series against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins defeated the Hurricanes in six games.
Carolina saw their point total decrease to 84 in 1999–2000, as the Hurricanes had a record of 37–35–10–0, finishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, failing to clinch a playoff berth. The Hurricanes returned to the post-season in 2000–01, finishing in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 38–32–9–3 record, earning 88 points. In the playoffs, the Hurricanes faced the heavily favoured New Jersey Devils and lost the series in six games.
Carolina won their second division title in 2001–02, as the Hurricanes went 35–26–16–5, earning 91 points and entering as the third seed in the East in the playoffs. In the first round, the Hurricanes defeated the favoured New Jersey Devils in six games, followed by defeats of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Eastern Conference, setting up a Final against the Detroit Red Wings. In the Finals, the Hurricanes were no match for the Red Wings, as Detroit won the series in five games.
The Hurricanes struggled in the 2002–03 season, finishing with the worst record in the NHL, going 22–43–11–6, earning only 61 points and well out of the playoffs. Carolina continued to struggle at the start of the 2003–04, as 30 games in, the club had a 8–12–8–2 record. On December 15, 2003, the Hurricanes fired Maurice, replacing him with Peter Laviolette.
On June 24, 2005, Maurice was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to become the head coach of their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies had just relocated to Toronto from St. John’s, Newfoundland, for the 2005–06 season. With the Marlies, Maurice led the club into the playoffs with a 41–29–6–4, earning 92 points and fourth place in the North Division. In the post-season, the Marlies were swept by the Grand Rapids Griffins in the first round. On May 12, 2006, Maurice was promoted from the Marlies to become head coach of the Maple Leafs.
Maurice became the head coach of the Maple Leafs in the 2006–07 after the club failed to reach the playoffs in 2005–06 and relieved Pat Quinn from his duties. In his first season with the Leafs, Maurice led the club to a 40–31–11 record for 91 points, though the Leafs finished in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, missing out on a playoff position by a single point. Toronto struggled to a 36–35–11 record in 2007–08, as the team once again failed to make the playoffs.
On May 7, 2008, Maurice was fired from the Maple Leafs by Interim General Manager Cliff Fletcher.
Maurice rejoined the Carolina Hurricanes on December 3, 2008, after the club fired Head Coach Peter Laviolette. At the time of the firing, the Hurricanes had a 12–11–2 record. Under Maurice, Carolina responded with a 33–19–5 record to finish the 2008–09 season, earning second place in the Southeast Division and sixth place in the East. In the playoffs extra long football socks, the Hurricanes defeated the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, reaching the conference finals. In the third round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, however, the Hurricanes were swept as Pittsburgh eventually won the Stanley Cup.
Maurice and the Hurricanes struggled in 2009–10, as the club went 35–37–10, failing to reach the post-season. The club improved to a 40–31–11 record in 2010–11. However, Carolina again failed to make the playoffs, as the team finished in ninth place in the Conference. Carolina got off to a poor start in the 2011–12 season, as the team went 8–13–4 in their first 25 games. On November 28, 2011, the Hurricanes fired Maurice, replacing him with Kirk Muller.
On June 8, 2012, Maurice was hired as head coach of Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for the 2012–13 season. Under Maurice, Magnitogorsk qualified for the post-season after a 27–13–12 regular season, earning fourth place in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, the club lost to Salavat Yulaev Ufa in seven games in the first round. After the season, Maurice returned to North America to be closer to his family.
On January 12, 2014, the Winnipeg Jets hired Maurice as head coach, replacing the fired Claude Noël after the Jets struggled to a 19–23–5 start to the 2013–14 season. Under Maurice, the Jets had a 18–12–5 record. On April 16, 2014, Maurice signed a four-year extension with the club.
During the 2014-15 season, Maurice led the Winnipeg Jets to their first playoff appearance, since relocating from Atlanta, finishing with a franchise best 43-26-13, for 99 points. In the post-season, the Jets were swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round.
In 2015-16, the Jets struggled to a 35-39-8 record, earning only 78 points and finished in last place in the Central Division, failing to qualify for the playoffs.
Maurice served as an assistant coach, under head coach Ralph Krueger for Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Updated with results including April 12, 2014