Pierre Page, who resigned Wednesday after two seasons as Calgary’s coach after failing to get a contract extension, has emerged as the leading candidate to become the Mighty Ducks’ next coach.
General Manager Jack Ferreira of the Ducks said Thursday he has talked to Calgary General Manager Al Coates twice within the last month about Page.
"[The first time] they said they were talking [about a new deal for Page], but then Al called me Saturday to see if I was still interested in Pierre,” Ferreira said. “I said, ‘Yes,’ and that’s as far as it went. I had a feeling something was up, though.”
Ferreira spoke to Coates a third time Thursday and formally asked permission to interview Page, who had one season remaining on a three-year contract that paid him about $240,000 a season.
The Ducks have been slowly searching for a new coach since announcing May 20 that Ron Wilson’s contract would not be renewed after four seasons.
Early favorite Don Hay, fired after one season as Phoenix Coyote coach, fell out of contention last Saturday.
Duck assistant Walt Kyle, former Buffalo general manager John Muckler and former Boston coach Steve Kasper also were on Ferreira’s short list. But Page has apparently moved past them.
Page, 49, is known as a tough coach, one given to benching players for making mistakes or giving poor efforts. Besides having coached Calgary, he coached Minnesota for two seasons and served as general manager and coach in Quebec for four seasons before the team moved to Denver in 1995.
Ferreira said again Thursday he’s not likely to make a decision on the coach until after July 1.