In a shocking turn of events, the Winnipeg Jets announced on Friday morning that Paul Maurice has resigned from his position as head coach of the club, with assistant coach Dave Lowry assuming the role on an interim basis for the time being.
According to an official statement released by the team, both Maurice and Lowry, along with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, will meet with the media later this afternoon to address the changes.
It's safe to say that very few people saw this news coming.
Maurice had been one of the longest-tenured coaches in the NHL prior to his resignation this morning, with the 2021-22 season serving as his ninth behind the Jets' bench after taking over for Claude Noel in 2013. Throughout his time in Winnipeg, Maurice had overseen the most successful period of modern Jets hockey, compiling a 315-223-62 record in his role while leading the team to four postseason appearances, including a trip to the Western Conference Final in 2017-18.
The Jets currently sit 16th in the overall NHL standings as of Friday morning with a 13-10-5 record and 31 points. While it hasn't been the start the organization was likely hoping for, the circumstances surrounding Maurice's exit suggest that the reasoning may not be hockey-related.
More information will become clear at this afternoon's press conference.
According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, Maurice revealed that the belief that the Jets are in need of a new voice is what led to his decision to resign. In a statement to Friedman, Maurice explained:
"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 they need a different voice. It's the right time for it, and I know that."
Added 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."
It appears as if this is an example of extremely rare self-awareness from an NHL coach of what their team needs. Maurice seems at peace with the decision.
And thus ends the era of the longest-tenured coach in modern Winnipeg Jets history.