Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice resigns, says players ‘need a new voice’

Paul Maurice has resigned as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, telling a news conference Friday that he loved the team, but that it was time to move on.

The team announced his resignation Friday morning. Assistant coach Dave Lowry will assume the coaching duties on an interim basis.

“This is a good team. I’m a good coach, but sometimes when you take over a team it’s kind of like you’re starting at the bottom of a mountain and you’re pushing a rock up,” Maurice said. 

“You can only get it to certain place. That’s where I feel I’m at.”

New leader needed, Maurice says

Maurice said he thinks the team needs a new leader at the helm to advance — and stressed that this was “100 per cent” his decision.

“And if you would allow me some arrogance, I would say I’m better positioned than anyone to know that they need a new voice,” he said. “They haven’t quit on me, they’re a good bunch of men and I’m cheering for them, I am.”

He also said coaching during the pandemic had been hard on him, saying he had lost some of his passion for the game. 

“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 could be or you should be, and that’s how I feel I am,” he said. 

WATCH | Paul Maurice on his decision to resign: 

‘It’s the right time for it and I know that’: Jets coach Paul Maurice resigns

47 minutes ago

Duration 1:34

Paul Maurice is leaving the Winnipeg Jets. He has just resigned as head coach, a job he’s held since 2014. The Jets have been struggling this season and Maurice says he’s been thinking about leaving. He says going to the rink was becoming a grind and he thinks the team deserves better. 1:34

When asked if he thought the team was under performing, Maurice replied that he thought they could do better. 

“I think we’ve been very consistent. We’re just under where we could be. We’ve been consistently under where we could be.”

The Jets are 13-10-5 heading into Friday night’s game against the visiting Washington Capitals.

They lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 Tuesday night, following a loss to the Vancouver Canucks last Friday. 

But Maurice said the less-than-stellar week had nothing to do with his decision, saying it was a long time coming. 

“There is a far longer runway on this than a loss to Buffalo,” he said. 

WATCH | Winnipeg Jets coach announces decision to resign:  

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice resigns

50 minutes ago

Duration 22:41

Paul Maurice has resigned as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, telling a news conference Friday morning that he loved the team, but it was time to move on. 22:41

Resignation forces team to reflect, players say

Maurice let the players know ahead of the announcement during a team meeting. Friday morning, players said the news came as a shock and was forcing them to reflect. 

“I think any time a coaching change happens … I think you can’t help but feel onus on yourself as a player,” said Josh Morrissey. He also noted he agrees with Maurice’s point that the team hasn’t been playing at its best. 

“When the team is underperforming, that doesn’t just fall on the coach, the coach can’t go on the ice.”

Mark Scheifele said he doesn’t think the team needs a new voice as Maurice has argued, but said he accepts his decision to step down. 

“I don’t feel that way at all. it’s been a strange year, especially for me with COVID and all that crap,” he said. 

“That’s his decision and we can’t change that. All we can do is come to work tonight and battle.”

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