Friday morning came with some surprising news as Winnipeg Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice resigned. Saying the team “needed another voice” he didn’t think he’d lost the room or that the players didn’t respect him, it was simply time to move on and he was aware of it. As Darren Dreger reported after the news first broke, this was just a personal decision. “His family is fine. There’s nothing sinister.”
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Chris Johnston listened to Maurice during his media avail and noted, “Paul Maurice sounds completely at peace with his decision. It takes courage to take this kind of action. Maurice: “I feel good. I don’t have a game I have to coach tonight and I don’t have to get a job tomorrow.” The coach admitted he started finding it tougher to come to the rink. Adds that he’s not embarrassed by it, but recognized that the players/organization/city deserved more. He said he truly loved the players and wants to see them do well. He looked at the situation and realized he was the problem and didn’t want to look back and regret not stepping aside when he should have.
Elliotte Friedman noted, “Emotional Paul Maurice: this is a good team, I’m a good coach…but sometimes you can only push so far. Sometimes a team needs a new voice. They haven’t quit on me, but need a different voice. It’s the right time for it, and I know that.” He added, “I pushed the rock up the mountain for so long, but you can only push it so far … I’m really comfortable where I handed it off.”
He thanked the Jets, the fans, the media and finished with, “It was a great day when I got hired by the Jets — for the Jets and for me. Today’s a great day, too. For the Jets and for me as well.”
This is not a mutual decision between the hockey club and the now-former coach. If it was up to the Jets, Maurice would still be there. Greg Wyshynski of ESPN wrote, “I’ve long been told that Winnipeg management and owners loved Maurice and that he would only leave this job on his own terms.”
Dave Lowry will replace him on an interim basis and it is assumed that a search for a new coach — with Lowry getting a chance to prove himself — will be underway.
Maurice is being applauded today for not only his work as an NHL coach but for how he’s stepping away and the courage it must have taken to do so in this manner. He leaves the organization with class and has earned the respect of so many. If he wants another NHL job, he’ll certainly have offers.
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