The agent for former NHL head coach Paul MacLean says the rumour about his client becoming the new head coach of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles is not true.
Neil Glasberg, founder, president and CEO of Toronto-based PBI Sports and Entertainment, denied the rumours about his client joining the local Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.
“I can tell you there’s been absolutely zero conversation with anybody about the job,” said Glasberg in a phone interview with the Cape Breton Post on Wednesday. “It’s not only a rumour, there’s zero fact to it, zero.”
Although the rumour of MacLean becoming the team’s new head coach had originally circulated throughout the President Cup playoffs after he was seen at Centre 200 watching Screaming Eagles playoff games, the rumour intensified Tuesday evening when the club fired head coach and general manager Marc-André Dumont after seven seasons.
The rumour spread quickly on social media to the point where Sportsnet picked it up and published a story, crediting a post made by another media outlet.
“I’ve seen things from a deal is imminent, he’s going to be named the head coach, and it turned into he is the head coach, which turned to people congratulating him — (but) there’s zero fact to it,” said Glasberg, who represents coaches and general managers in the NHL, NBA, NFL and across the world.
“It’s a huge issue because as a personal brander it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for my client to be part of this when there’s no truth to it.”
MacLean has a lengthy coaching career, which dates back to 1993.
During his coaching career, the Antigonish native spent time as the head coach of the Peoria Rivermen of the International Hockey League from 1993 to 1996, before accepting an assistant coaching position with the Phoenix Coyotes.
He later returned to the IHL with the Kansas City Blades, spending three years as the team’s head coach. He was later the head coach of the Quad City Mallards of the United Hockey League for two seasons.
In 2002, MacLean became an assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, spending two seasons with the California-based team, before joining the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach from 2005 to 2011, winning a Stanley Cup with the club in 2008.
MacLean took over as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators from Cory Clouston in 2011, winning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year during the 2012-13 season. He spent three full seasons in the nation’s capital, before being let go by the Senators in December 2014.
After his time with Ottawa, the 61-year-old served as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks and has not coached in the NHL since 2017.
Prior to coaching, MacLean played 11 seasons in the NHL between the St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets and Red Wings.
“What’s important to know, which most people don’t know, is there are a lot of guys who have been in the game that scout for NHL teams,” said Glasberg when asked about MacLean’s appearance in Sydney.
“If somebody is going to say, ‘I saw somebody in a rink,’ and try to put a story together based on that, they really should be doing something outside of sports — you can’t say you saw somebody in the rink and try to put two-and-two together, really?”
When asked why this rumour would start, Glasberg was clear with his answer.
“Because somebody that has no inside track on anything wants to try to break news — try to break a story, that’s all it is,” said Glasberg.
“This isn’t even a situation of jumping the gun, this is a situation of absolute total fake news — I hate using that because it gives credit to (Donald) Trump — but it is completely fake news. I don’t know the motivation other than someone wanting to look smart.”
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Reached by phone on Tuesday, Screaming Eagles president Gerard Shaw also denied the rumour of MacLean becoming the head coach.
“I have not had discussions with anybody, contrary to what people have been asking me,” said Shaw, following the dismissal of Dumont and assistant coach Brent Hughes.
“It’s just the reality that I haven’t had discussions with anybody about GM or coaching.”
Glasberg confirmed he has spoken with MacLean four times since the rumour spread Wednesday night. Glasberg said MacLean has received “tons” of messages congratulating him, despite no truth in the rumour.
“He’s very low-key, so he doesn’t get nearly as emotional (and) passionate as I do, but he’s not embarrassed by it, I’m embarrassed for him,” said Glasberg. “Imagine when your phone blows up with people congratulating you on something that never happened.”
Glasberg said he’s spent hours trying to mitigate the damage caused by the rumour.
“There’s no accountability on social media ... It’s become my issue and I didn’t do anything,” he said. “The thing that’s scary is the number of people that picked up on it … I had to put out a tweet (on Twitter) last night (Tuesday) to shut it down to say there’s no truth to it.”
Glasberg wouldn’t confirm whether or not MacLean has received a coaching offer elsewhere.
“If news is going to be broken and regardless of whether it’s sports or politics or anything else, it needs to be corroborated with the source, so rumours are not substantiated breaking news clips.”
The Cape Breton Post reached out to MacLean Wednesday afternoon, but a message was not returned at deadline time.
For now, the Screaming Eagles head coach and general manager positions remain vacant. No timeline was given as to when the club would like to have the positions filled.
• Hometown: Antigonish, N.S.
• Age: 61
• Last coaching position: Assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks (2016-17)
• He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year during the 2012-13 season as head coach of the Ottawa Senators
PAUL MACLEAN’S COACHING CAREER:
• 1993-1996 – Head Coach – Peoria Rivermen (IHL)
• 1996-97 – Assistant Coach – Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
• 1997-2000 – Head Coach – Kansas City Blades (IHL)
• 2000-2002 – Head Coach – Quad City Mallards (UHL)
- 2002-2004 – Assistant Coach – Anaheim Mighty Ducks (NHL)
• 2005-2011 – Assistant Coach – Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
• 2011-2015 – Head Coach – Ottawa Senators (NHL)
• 2015-2017 – Assistant Coach – Anaheim Ducks