Who is Sheldon Keefe? Toronto Maple Leafs name Mike Babcock's replacement

Sporting News

Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan announced the termination of Mike Babcock 23 games into his fifth season.

In turn, the organization promoted Sheldon Keefe from the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies as the 31st head coach of the Maple Leafs.

Here's what you need to know about Toronto's new coach.

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Where is Sheldon Keefe from?

A Brampton, Ont. native, Keefe played for the Toronto St. Michael's Majors and the Barrie Colts. With the Colts, he was the OHL’s Rookie of the Year in 1999 and won the Eddie Powers Trophy as the league’s top scorer in 1999-2000.

Did Sheldon Keefe play in the NHL?

Playing in 125 games over the course of three seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2000-03, Keefe recorded just 24 points on 12 goals and 12 assists.

How long has Sheldon Keefe been coaching?

Keefe brings more than 10 years of experience as a head coach onto the Maple Leafs bench. Most recently, he coached the AHL Toronto Marlies, where he was serving in his fifth year before news of his promotion to the NHL.

In 319 regular-season games, he compiled a 199-89-22-9 record and led the team to the best regular-season record in the AHL twice. His Marlies won the Calder Cup in 2018, the first-ever in franchise history, and currently sit atop the North Division standings at 10-2-2-1.

Prior to the Marlies, during his three years coaching the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, his team won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy in 2014-15 for finishing the regular season with the best record among OHL teams. In 2015 he was named the Ontario Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League's coach of the year.

He also won five consecutive Central Canada Hockey League championships with the Pembroke Lumber Kings.

Keefe's connection to Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas

Dubas and Keefe go way back.

The Maple Leafs GM hired Keefe as the Greyhounds coach back in 2012 as a mid-season replacement, back when he as running the OHL team. After Dubas was hired as an assistant GM in 2014 with Toronto, he also served as the Marlies GM and hired Keefe to be the AHL team's bench boss in 2015.

Which Maple Leafs players has Sheldon Keefe coached?

During his time with the Marlines, Keefe became familiar with a number of current Maple Leafs players, including forwards Frederik Gauthier, Zach Hyman, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Dmytro Timashov, Trevor Moore, Nic Petan and Pierre Engvall; defensemen Travis Dermott, Justin Holl and Martin Marincin; and goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo.

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