Maurice was named head coach by general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff on Jan. 12, 2014, succeeding Claude Noel. Throughout his eight and a half seasons with the Jets, there were many ups and downs. During that time frame, the Jets failed to make the playoffs twice, but in 2017-18, they made it to the conference finals where they would, unfortunately, lose the series 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. While that is a big accomplishment for Maurice and the Jets, they weren’t able to get back to that winning position again.
Maurice’s final record as head coach of the Jets was 315-223-62. While he has coached over 1,600 NHL games between the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Jets, it was time for a much-needed change of scenery for both parties.
During a morning press conference to address the resignation, Maurice had this to say: “This is a good team. I’m a good coach, but sometimes when you take over a team and it’s kind of like you’re starting at the bottom of a mountain and you’re pushing a rock to the top you can only get it to a certain place,” he said. “That’s where I feel I’m at.” Maurice continued to take the blame for the team’s failures over the last few seasons, so this is something you have to respect.
“I would say I’m better positioned than anyone to know that they need a new voice. They haven’t quit on me. They’re a good bunch of men. My relationship is strong with all of them, and I’m cheering for them. I am. But when you have a 26-year professional hockey coaching career, you know. They need a new voice. They need somebody to help them get to that next place. It doesn’t need to be a more experienced, more talented guy, it needs to be a different voice because it’s the right time for it, and I know that.”Winnipeg Jets head coach, Paul Maurice
Maurice went on to explain that the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in how his team played last season. He openly expressed that he did not enjoy coming to the rink when the team was playing in the bubble and when they had no fans in attendance: “If you lose some of that passion for the game, the love of the game, you can still be good, but you can’t be as good as you should be or could be, and that’s how I feel I am,” he said. It is clear that Maurice felt like he could not continue to be the head coach of the Jets with his state of mind.
While the Jets wished Maurice the best in his future, Cheveldayoff announced that Dave Lowry will assume the head coaching role for the remainder of the season. Lowry joined the Jets as an assistant coach in 2020-21. He has previously held staffing positions with the Los Angeles Kings as well as the Brandon Wheat Kings, Victoria Royals, and Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Jets will search for a new head coach come the offseason.
Born and raised in Kamloops B.C. and a die-hard fan of the Kamloops Blazers, hockey has always been a part of his life. Now, Colton is exploring the sports media world and looking to make it a career. He currently covers the Winnipeg Jets, as well as contributes to World Juniors, and draft-related content. He is co-host of the WesternCentric Podcast, which revolves around the WHL.