Maurice is the real deal

JODY VANCE -- 24 Hours Toronto

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

Paul Maurice is an open book.

Sincere, down-to-earth, driven, honest, educated, the Toronto Maple Leafs new head coach is 100 per cent good guy.

Now I know you might be saying: "sure Jody, you're just saying that because you work for Leafs TV ..."

Let me assure you my opinion of Paul Maurice dates back a couple of years now -- while I was still at Sportsnet. He joined the Hockeycentral panel as playoff analyst.

My first impressions were solidified when I sat down to interview him one-on-one for last night's Leafs TV Game Day show. He made no bones about how completely excited he was to be making his debut behind the Toronto bench. It was not lost on him how lucky "this kid from Saulte Ste. Marie is to be living the dream."

It may surprise you to learn that he is the "underacheiver" in his family. No joke. His older brother is a doctor, younger brother an engineer and his parents are both teachers.

After sharing this tidbit Maurice quickly added, "I plan to finish my degree eventually, it just might take a little longer." (We understand Paul, you are kinda busy!)

He's a classic rock man and my sources have warned me to never get into a Led Zeppelin trivia contest with him unless I am OK with losing badly.

Paul Maurice's true family colours shined through when I asked the some-what cliche (OK, very cliche) question; "if you could sit down with any three people in history for dinner who would it be?"

His answer was: "My kids. I'd be hard-pressed to gather a group I really liked a lot, never mind love. ... I sure love my kids and don't get enough time with them as it is!"

Paul Maurice is all too aware of the huge spotlight he is stepping into here in the big smoke and the obvious goal is to ice a winner but also remain the same honest, sincere, down-to-earth Ontario native who walked out onto that bench last night.

In the case of Paul Maurice, it is safe to judge a book by its cover -- he is the real deal.

Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


Videos

Photos