Sault Ste. Marie native Paul Maurice has signed a multi-year contract to continue as head coach of the NHL Carolina Hurricanes, it was announced Tuesday. The 35-year old Maurice piloted the upstart Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup finals, which concluded just last week. Carolina was defeated in five games by the Detroit Red Wings after it won series' over the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Maurice has been head coach of the Carolina franchise (formerly Hartford Whalers) for seven seasons. Despite his lengthy experience, he is the NHL's youngest coach. A graduate of the AAA midget Soo Legion team, Maurice played parts of four OHL seasons as a defenceman with the Windsor Spitfires. Later, he was a Spitfire assistant coach at age 20 and was head coach of the Detroit Jr. Red Wings (now Plymouth Whalers) by the time he was 24. As Maurice gets a new contract with Carolina, so does his mentor, general manager Jim Rutherford. It was Rutherford who drafted Maurice for Windsor 18 years ago and then gave him his first coaching job with the Spitfires. It was Rutherford who then brought Maurice to the Jr. Wings and to the NHL with Hartford.