sheldon keefe fired

Leafs fire head coach Sheldon Keefe after five seasons on the job

It's official: Sheldon Keefe has been fired as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Less than a week after the franchise was ousted from the playoffs via a 2-1 Game 7 overtime loss against the Boston Bruins, Keefe was let go by the franchise after four-and-a-half seasons in charge, the team announced Thursday.

"Today's decision was difficult. Sheldon is an excellent coach and a great man; however, we determined a new voice is needed to help the team push through to reach our ultimate goal," Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said in a statement. "We thank Sheldon for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last nine years, and wish him and his family all the very best."

Prior to his time in charge of the Leafs, Keefe had previously been head coach of the AHL's Toronto Marlies, winning a Calder Cup in 2018.

Keefe himself had most recently met the media earlier this week.

"I believe in myself greatly. I love coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs," Keefe told the media on Monday. "It's out of my control. But I believe in myself, that I will win and my team will win."

Since taking over the job in 2019, Keefe has gone 212-97-40 in the regular season with Toronto, a .607 winning percentage, while going 16-21 in the playoffs, a .432 winning percentage.

"Worst day of the season when you haven't met expectations. As head coach, I take responsibility," Keefe added. "We're in the results business here and we didn't get results, and we haven't met expectations."

Toronto fell 3-1 in their first-round matchup against the Bruins before equalling the series at 3-3. In Game 7, Toronto took a brief 1-0 lead midway through the third period before falling in overtime.

"In this series, I thought we showed signs of a team that could win," Keefe said on Saturday night in the moments following the 2-1 loss.

"We look at this team, and we have a core group of guys with some young guys who are really coming. Maybe that is a little bit disconnected right now in terms of the young guys coming to support, but there are a lot of good things happening — and that happened in this series with how the team played, bought into a plan, and found success to give us a chance to compete here."

Lead photo by

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports


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