ANALYSIS: Former coach Paul Maurice left undeniable impact on Jets

By the time of his departure — a year ago this month, to be precise — it was probably safe to say Paul Maurice had become a polarizing figure in Winnipeg.

Regardless of what you thought of him in his final days as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, the fact is undisputed: his tenure here with the hockey team through parts of nine seasons was productive and significant, his legacy to the franchise notable and important.

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When Maurice arrived to take over the Jets’ reins in early 2014, it was a club adrift in mediocrity. He immediately created a presence and restored confidence in the players, and the uptick in play was swift and responsive. The next season, the Jets qualified for the playoffs for the first time, and players like Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler bought in, while others like Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry grew and developed.

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Off the ice, he represented Winnipeg with professionalism, tact and style. And he loved it here, often telling hubristic outsiders across the league what a wonderful place it was to work and live. He was one of us and he made us proud to call this place home.

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By his fourth full-time season, he had guided the franchise to its first-ever playoff win, series win, and a trip to the Western Conference final — and over the next three seasons that followed, a post-season berth in each, including a playoff appearance in the arduous COVID campaign, when his blue line was decimated by the departure of four starters for one reason or another, before it even started.

Now, did Maurice have his flaws as a coach? Of course. But is there a coach, parent or even leader who doesn’t need to be better at something within their delivery or make-up?

And now a year after walking away from the Jets, it’s probably agreeable to everyone — including Maurice — that the timing was appropriate. But his impact and contribution to the Jets overall, to this point, was unequalled and appreciated — and like previously mentioned, polarizing.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigns'
Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigns



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