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Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs have named Paul Maurice their new head coach, replacing the fired Pat Quinn.

Maurice spent seven full seasons and parts of two others as the head coach with the Carolina Hurricanes franchise before being fired on December 15, 2003. He was the coach of the Leafs' AHL affiliate in Toronto last season.

"Paul Maurice is one of the most highly-regarded young head coaches in the game," said Leafs vice president and general manager John Ferguson on Friday. "He did an outstanding job in developing the Hurricanes during his time in Carolina and earned a reputation for leading teams that were well-prepared and consistently competitive on the ice."

Maurice started his NHL head coaching career at the age of 28 with the Hartford Whalers 12 games into the 1995-96 season and remained with the club when it moved to Carolina in 1997. He led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, beating the Leafs in the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Detroit Red Wings in five games of the Cup Finals.

The 39-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario has a career head coaching regular-season record of 268-291-99-16 in 674 games. He ranks first in Carolina franchise history in regular-season wins and regular-season games coached, as well as playoff wins with 17 and playoff games coached with 35.

"Coaching the Leafs is one of the preeminent positions in hockey, and one that I'm honored to take on," said Maurice. "We have an organization and a huge following of fans around the world who all share the same goal that I have -- the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. This franchise has had a level of success in recent years that few clubs have matched. It's my intent to build upon that success."

The Leafs had seven straight winning seasons under Quinn and missed the playoffs only twice. They were 41-33-8 this past season and finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, just two points out of a playoff spot.

Maurice, meanwhile, guided the Toronto Marlies to a record of 41-29-4-6 this past season and helped some of those AHL players reach the parent club this year.

"Paul brings a significant advantage of having a thorough knowledge of the players in our system," Ferguson added. "Thanks in large part to the outstanding leadership role Paul played in accelerating the development of our young players with the Marlies, 12 rookies in our system made their debut with the Leafs this past season and performed well in doing so."

Quinn had 300 wins during his tenure with the Leafs and led the club to the conference finals twice during his seven seasons.
 
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