Toronto Maple Leafs fire coach Sheldon Keefe

By Sports Desk May 09, 2024

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a new voice behind the bench.

The Maple Leafs fired coach Sheldon Keefe on Thursday after the team suffered yet another early exit from the NHL Stanley Cup play-offs.

Hired by Toronto in November 2019, Keefe led the Maple Leafs to the play-offs in each of his five seasons at the helm, but the team only advanced out of the first round once.

His firing came five days after Toronto's season ended in the first round with an overtime Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins.

"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," Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said in a statement. "We thank Sheldon for his hard work and dedication to the organisation over the last nine years, and wish him and his family all the very best."

Under Keefe, Toronto amassed a franchise-record 115 points in 2021-22, and the 2020-21 team won the club's first division title since 1999-2000.

Although Keefe coached the Maple Leafs to a 212-97-40 record in the regular season, the team sputtered in the play-offs, going just 16-21.

An Original Six franchise, the Maple Leafs are one of the NHL's most revered clubs, but their futility in the play-offs is galling.

Toronto has won just a single play-off series in the last 19 seasons and hasn't won the Stanley Cup in 56 seasons - the longest active drought by an NHL franchise.

 

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