SUNRISE FL. — Paul Maurice's journey towards becoming the new coach Florida Panthers It was also helped by an admissions office at a college.
He was watching the games in January, one month after he quit as the coach. Winnipeg Jets. He was astonished to discover the Panthers, and quickly shared his excitement with his wife.
Now, fast forward a few more weeks and Maurice's child was admitted at the University of Miami. It was another sign.
Maurice stated, “I'm thinking: ‘Hey! This could be good.'”
The Panthers believe he is right. The Panthers introduced Maurice as Florida's new coach on Thursday. They stressed that he was the right choice after a month-long search. His experience, which includes the fourth-most games played and the seventh-most wins in NHL history, made him the perfect fit.
“It was overwhelming when we spoke to Paul Maurice that this man was the man for us,” Panthers general manger Bill Zito. “He was the perfect fit to help us face the challenges we face moving forward as we work towards achieving our goal.”
Last week, Zito called Maurice to begin the interview process. This led to Maurice's hiring. Zito, who was a long-standing NHL agent, had never met Maurice. He had however had several NHL players who played for him throughout the years.
Everything Zito told Maurice worked and it worked fast
Maurice said, “The interview process went very well.” I don't know how long you spend with Bill but he can get you talking about hockey in just 15 minutes. So I'm ready to go an hour after the meeting began. This is what drives me and what I love. People who are passionate and smart enough to not only put on a great game but also a great program for their community.
The Panthers will become the fourth franchise that Maurice coaches. In 1995, he started his coaching career in Hartford. This was two seasons before the franchise was relocated to Carolina. Before returning to Carolina, he coached Toronto for 2 seasons. then spent nearly nine years as coach in Winnipeg before stepping down there in December.
Maurice just felt like he needed to take a break. The Panthers played from Maurice's couch one month later. He felt he no longer needed a break and this feeling was reinforced when he began to talk with Zito.
Maurice stated, “They're working hard on things.” “They have a plan for what might happen, and a plan for what could happen. They're willing to work, and you immediately know that they want to be part of this. That switch was flipped quickly and it wasn’t because ‘I’m not coaching anymore. It was: “I'm only going there if I feel I can make a difference.”
Maurice has been a NHL head coach for over 30 years. He has yet to win the Stanley Cup.
The Panthers are the same. They reached the final in 1996 but were unable to recover. However, they got on track in recent years and won the Presidents Trophy. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, Sergei Bobrovsky More — available under contract for at most the next season
They will have to answer some questions about their rosters, navigate some salary-cap complexities this summer, and it is still unclear if they will make it. Andrew Brunette — who was promoted from assistant to interim coach when Joel Quenneville had to step down last fall — will be back with Florida. Maurice also wants him to stay with the Panthers.
However, the ultimate goal is clear. Hockey's ultimate prize will make next year a success. Maurice is eager to start.
Maurice stated, “Certainly that is our aspiration. That's where we want to go.” “But we cannot make a Cup race in October or in training camps. We must do that work daily, from Day One. This must be our focus. We are not going to say “We're gonna win Stanley Cup” on Day One, because it's impossible.