Sheldon Keefe, coach of Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, signed to two-year extension

TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Sheldon Keefe to a two-year contract extension as head coach of the club’s American Hockey League affiliate.

Keefe has posted a 189-87-20-1 record over four seasons as head coach of the Toronto Marlies and led them to their first Calder Cup championship in 2018.

The Marlies advanced to the AHL’s Eastern Conference final this season before losing in to the Charlotte Checkers in six games.

Earlier this season, Keefe moved past Dallas Eakins for the most regular-season wins by a coach in franchise history and has the highest winning percentage (.688) of any Marlies coach-to-date.

“Over the last four seasons Sheldon has done a great job developing our individual prospects into Maple Leafs while also guiding the Marlies deep into the playoffs in each of his four seasons with the organization, including the Calder Cup in 2018,” Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said in a statement. “Ensuring that Sheldon remains tasked with guiding the development of our prospects was very important to our program and the reason we began the discussion to extend Sheldon months ago.”

Prior to joining the Maple Leafs organization, Keefe spent three seasons as head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He earned the 2014-15 CHL and OHL Coach of the Year awards after leading the Greyhounds to a league-best record of 54-12-0-2 and establishing a new franchise record with 110 points.

Prior to his tenure in the OHL, the 38-year-old Brampton, Ont., native served as head coach and general manager of the CCHL’s Pembroke Lumber Kings, capturing five straight league titles and an RBC Cup national title in 2011.

Keefe played in 125 NHL games and 120 AHL games after being selected in the second round (47th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1999 NHL draft.

“In my conversations with the Leafs over the past several months, I felt that staying on with this club was the best decision for me, my family and my development,” Keefe said. “I’m incredibly proud of our recent achievements as a club and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to develop young Maple Leafs.”

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