January 7, 2015 / 6:44 PM / in 3 years

Maple Leafs name Horachek interim head coach

(Reuters) - The Toronto Maple Leafs have named Peter Horachek as interim head coach in hopes that he can breathe new life into what has been a disappointing season, the National Hockey League team said on Wednesday.

Nov 30, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Peter Horachek, who was then Florida Panthers head coach, questions referee Rob Martell on a no goal call against the Panthers in the second period of a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Horachek had been serving as the team’s assistant coach since last July and replaces Randy Carlyle, who was fired on Tuesday after spending parts of four seasons behind the Maple Leafs bench.

The Maple Leafs also said Steve Staios, the Leafs’ Manager of Player Development, will also support the coaching staff on the bench and in practice.

Horachek takes over a Toronto team that have lost seven of their last nine games and are clinging to the final wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Boston Bruins.

Horachek, 54, served as head coach of the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage at the start of the 2013-14 season before being appointed interim head coach of the NHL’s Florida Panthers with 66 games remaining in the regular season.

He went 26-36-4 with Florida and was fired after the regular season.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating

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