Published: Thu, November 21, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Maple Leafs fire head coach Mike Babcock

Maple Leafs fire head coach Mike Babcock

Former Soo Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe has been named the new head coach of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs' Mike Babcock has been relieved as head coach, the team confirms.

Shanahan and Dubas dumped Babcock barely halfway through his record eight-year, US$50 million deal, that produced back-to-back 100-point seasons, but no first-round playoff victory in three tries. "Mike's commitment and tireless work ethic have put our organization in a better place and we are extremely grateful and appreciative of the foundation he has helped us build here".

Keefe was hired by the Marlies in June 2015, and since then has registered two of the seven best single-season records in AHL history, going 54-16-6 in 2015-16 and 54-18-4 in 2017-18, winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy both years as the AHL's regular-season champions. He joined the Leafs with an impressive resume, having won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008 and back-to-back Olympic gold medals with Canada in 2010 and 2014.

The young Leafs surprised many by making the playoffs in 2016-17 before falling to the Washington Capitals in six games. His post-game comments seemed unmotivated, much like the players on the ice, and it was as if he already knew that it was his final game behind the Leafs bench.

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Amid that speculation, earlier on Wednesday, the Toronto Star had run a piece in which Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas had commented on Babcock's future. Babcock was sacked Wednesday, midway through his fifth season behind the bench in Toronto.

Am I surprised that Babcock was shown the door? It's a tough time for him and his family.

There is no question that Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe have a chemistry that could potentially translate very well to an National Hockey League level, and honestly I am excited to see this tremendously talented team be taken on by a new set of eyes.

"I certainly feel for him". Garret Sparks never gained Babcock's trust, while Michael Hutchinson secured just one point in five starts before getting demoted to the AHL. The team is on a three-season playoff streak, despite first-round exits each time.

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