BY JORDAN SAMERY
With Wednesday’s news the Maple Leafs had fired head coach Paul Maurice after two seasons, the search now begins for a coach who can return the team to winning ways.
Peter DeBoer hopes that search isn’t limited to candidates with NHL experience.
The coach/GM of the Kitchener Rangers told THN.com Wednesday he is “absolutely” interested in being the next coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It’s everyone’s goal to get to the NHL and mine’s no different,” said DeBoer.
Looked upon very highly by many people in hockey as a future NHL coach, DeBoer has an excellent track record of putting high-end talent into the league, with the likes of Philadelphia’s Mike Richards and Buffalo’s Derek Roy, to name a few.
While DeBoer is sure the Leafs will look at high profile, experienced candidates to replace Maurice, he believes his record should speak for itself.
In six full seasons before the 2007-08 campaign with Kitchener, DeBoer had complied a .667 winning percentage and captured the Memorial Cup in 2003.
The 39-year-old is on the verge of duplicating that accomplishment this year, as his team currently leads the Belleville Bulls 3-1 in the Ontario League championship series and already has an automatic bid to the Memorial Cup as the host city.
“Right now we're excited about bringing an OHL championship to Kitchener and hopefully a Memorial Cup Championship and we’ll see what the future holds after that.”
DeBoer, who describes himself as being “lifelong friends” with Paul Maurice going back to their playing days and then coaching together in junior, has a long-term contract with Kitchener, but one that contains a clause allowing him to opt out during the summer for an NHL job.