A look at the rise of new Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe

A look at the rise of new Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe

TORONTO — Here’s a capsule look at new Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe’s hockey career:


Keefe’s junior days included a run to the Memorial Cup final with the Barrie Colts in 2000, a season when the native of Brampton, Ont., led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring.

A few years earlier, Keefe played on a Quinte Hawks junior-A team in Deseronto, Ont., coached by disgraced former agent/coach David Frost.

One of his teammates with the Colts and Hawks was Mike Danton, who was convicted of plotting to kill Frost, his then-agent, in a bizarre murder-for-hire scheme in the United States while playing for the St. Louis Blues in 2004. Frost, meanwhile, was acquitted in 2008 on four counts of sexual exploitation dating back to his time coaching in Deseronto.


The Tampa Bay Lightning took Keefe in the second round (47th overall) in 1999.

Keefe bounced between the NHL and the minors, recording 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 125 games with the Lightning before he was traded to the then-Phoenix Coyotes in 2004.

A knee injury ended Keefe’s playing career after four games with Phoenix’s AHL affiliate.



One year after purchasing the Central Canada Hockey League club located about 150 kilometres northwest of Ottawa, Keefe became general manager and head coach.

Keefe guided the Lumber Kings to five consecutive CCHL titles as well as a national junior-A championship in 2011.


Midway through the 2012-13 season, then-Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas, now GM of the Leafs, fired Mike Stapleton and replaced him with Keefe.

The Greyhounds got to the OHL playoffs in Keefe’s first year before losing in the first round.

In 2013-14, the Greyhounds won the West Division before exiting in the second round of the playoffs.

The following season, the Greyhounds finished with their best record in franchise history. Keefe was named Canadian Hockey League coach of the year. The Greyhounds were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.


The Maple Leafs, with Dubas as an assistant GM, hired Keefe to lead their American Hockey League affiliate in 2015.

The Marlies made it to the second round of the playoffs or better in each of Keefe’s four full seasons.

The highlight was a Calder Cup AHL title in 2018 on home ice in Game 7 against Texas.

Keefe, 39, compiled a record of 199-89-31 with the Marlies.

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