Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice revels in son's play-by-play broadcasting success

“I think my favourite part is he’s found a different way to fall in love with the game of hockey. He’s probably more passionate about it than I am”

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Sunrise, Fla. — While Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice is still chasing his first Stanley Cup championship in his 30th year as an NHL head coach, his broadcaster son Jake, who does play-by-play for the ECHL Florida Everblades, is way ahead of pops.

“He’s been in pro hockey two years and two rings,” said Maurice after his Panthers Game 1 shutout win over Edmonton Oilers Saturday.

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Father and son do plan on celebrating.

“Possibly unbearable. It’ll be at my house,” he said, kiddingly.

The Everglades, based in Estero, two hours from Fort Lauderdale, just won their third straight ECHL Kelly Cup title and Jake, who took a different path in hockey, has called the last two. Before he moved to Florida with his dad in 2002, Jake did play-by-play for three years with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Winnipeg Blues and was a radio talk-show producer on CJOB.

“I haven’t talked to him yet, I’ll catch up to him later today, but when I do, I’ll probably have to through ‘his people,’’’ joked the Panthers’ bench boss about Jake’s elevated status these days.

“I think my favourite part is he’s found a different way to fall in love with the game of hockey. He’s probably more passionate about it than I am. You always want your kids to find their purpose, find their thing, find their reason. And he had it at 16. Got this unusual break to call the game and he was just fired up for it,” said Maurice.

Paul’s kids have always hung around rinks when Maurice was coaching, but dad made sure they weren’t bugging the players.

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“My kids weren’t allowed to get autographs. I just I wanted my kids to see them as people not players, except when we were in Toronto,” said Maurice. “Mats Sundin and Darryl Sittler were the two autographs Jake wanted, the only two he was allowed to get. He walked over to them and I went through that kind of, just horror, that all fathers may go through (about the ask of a celebrity), although I had no reason to because they are both incredibly generous men.”

“But as my kid’s walking over, I’m thinking ‘I hope they sign this autograph.’ If they don’t I’m going to go into kill mode here,” he said.

Maurice has long been very good with his media duties—he did work in the broadcast business between coaching gigs, starting in 2004—but now that Jake is in the media and does some communications work along with broadcasting, Paul has a different outlook on things. He doesn’t want to come across like an old grump after losses, not publicly anyway.

“If you do that to my kid, I’m going to hate on you pretty quick. So I’m mindful when I come in here now. I’d like to think I’m reasonably generous with my time, I try to be thoughtful. It doesn’t have to be an adversarial relationship,” said Maurice, who started on TV with Darren Dreger.

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“I’m over in Austria to see the world championship for the first time and I’m standing outside and it’s raining sideways and we’re there because, they tell me, ‘we gotta feed something to a truck.’ I’m thinking, ‘this job sucks.’ But I remember thinking, this is way harder than I thought. And that had an impact on me.”

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