LAS VEGAS — In the 1994-95 season, when the NHL orchestrated its first-ever lockout, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings were busy winning the OHL championship with a young Paul Maurice as their head coach and an even younger Peter DeBoer as his assistant. As teenagers, the two had been teammates for three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires, but neither of their post-junior playing careers were going anywhere. Maurice because he’d lost the sight in one eye some years earlier, DeBoer because he’d set a time limit on how long he’d be prepared to invest in a pro career, and he’d gotten past that. DeBoer was actually finishing up his law degree, when Maurice called and asked him if he wanted to become a coach.
Maurice was 26 the year DeBoer was hired.
DeBoer was 25.