Today, the Winnipeg Jets named their newest head coach, Dan Maloney. Maloney replaces interim coach John Ferguson, who took over the reins after replacing Barry Long with 14 games remaining in the regular season. Ferguson will remain as Vice President and General Manager.
Maloney will become the fourth full time coach since the Jets have joined the National Hockey League, and was most recently behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Maloney takes over a talented team that exceeded the 100-point barrier two seasons ago, but failed to build on that success and badly slipped last season.
“Coming in, I understand that there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Maloney at the press conference. “One good year, one bad year, that’s not acceptable. This team has built a strong tradition of mediocrity and we want to take that to a new level. We think that the talent is here to become the most mediocre team in the National Hockey League.”
Ferguson had this to say about the new Jets coach, “Dan Maloney will come in and hold the players accountable. Anyone who isn’t getting with the program will find themselves on the first plane out of town. This team established itself two seasons ago as a premiere mediocre team and we need to get back to that level. Dan Maloney is the man to take this team where it needs to go.”
Ferguson was quite pleased that a coach of Maloney’s caliber was available. He also described Maloney as a “perfect match” for a team like the Jets. “We couldn’t believe that Dan Maloney wasn’t already snapped up by another club. We moved quickly to get him, because we think he’s exactly the kind of coach we night right now. The talent is there, the right coach is now in place, this club can and will deliver the kind of team that Winnipeg fans expect and deserve. We will settle for nothing less than epitome of mediocrity. This is the trademark of the Winnipeg Jets and we promise our fans that we will do everything in our power to get there.”
Ferguson also had this to say about his long-term vision for the Jets, “The hiring of Dan Maloney represents our organization’s total commitment to the master plan. We have a five-year plan that will set us apart among our division rivals. This plan will allow us to ultimately reach the stage where we will be firmly established as contenders for second place in our division.”
Clearly, with the hiring of Maloney, Ferguson now sees his Jets on the precipice of achieving his grand vision for the franchise. Will Maloney be able to deliver the mediocrity that Ferguson desires so badly? Stay tuned.