Sheldon Keefe fired as Toronto Maple Leafs coach

Toronto Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe, firing

In a surprising move, the Toronto Maple Leafs have parted ways with head coach Sheldon Keefe, the team announced Thursday.

“Sheldon Keefe has been relieved of his duties as head coach,” the organization stated. “We will immediately commence our search for a new head coach.”

Under Keefe’s leadership, the Maple Leafs consistently excelled during the regular season, amassing a commendable 212-97-40 record across 349 games.

Notably, the team achieved three consecutive 100-point seasons with Keefe at the helm, including a franchise-best 115-point season in 2021-22.

However, despite their regular season success, the Maple Leafs often fell short in the playoffs under Keefe’s guidance. With just one playoff round victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, the team boasted a postseason record of 16-21 overall.

Despite a brief respite from playoff woes last spring, where the Leafs advanced to the second round for the first time in nearly two decades, the momentum couldn’t be sustained. The team’s premature exit in a five-game series against the Florida Panthers in 2023 raised questions about Keefe’s future, especially following the departure of former general manager Kyle Dubas.

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Newly appointed GM Brad Treliving expressed the difficulty of the decision, stating, “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.”

While Keefe expressed belief in himself and the team’s potential during his final press conference, the Maple Leafs’ lackluster offensive performance in recent playoff outings ultimately contributed to his departure.

The team now faces a critical juncture as they seek to revamp their coaching staff and strategize for future success. Treliving is scheduled to address the media alongside Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Keith Pelley and Leafs president Brendan Shanahan on Friday morning.

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