The Devils have a new head coach! With Sheldon Keefe named as the 22nd head coach in team history, get to know New Jersey’s new bench boss in this edition of Three Things.

1. His Extensive Career

A right wing from Brampton Ontario, Sheldon Keefe played junior hockey in Canada, including three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. At the 1999 NHL Draft, Keefe was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Second Round (47th overall).

Keefe made his NHL debut on Oct. 18, 2000 when the Lightning played the Wild in Minnesota. Keefe’s first NHL goal, and first point, was on Nov. 5, 2000 when he scored against the Washington Capitals. Keefe played 49 games in his rookie season and had four points, all goals, to finish the year.

The new Devils head coach played the next two seasons with the Lightning and finished his career with 125 NHL games. Keefe had 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 career points. He played against the Devils three times in his career including twice in his final NHL season.


In addition to the NHL, Keefe played professional hockey in the International Hockey League (IHL) with the Detroit Vipers (2000-01) and in the American Hockey League (AHL) with three different teams: Springfield Falcons (2001-02), Hershey Bears (2003-04), and Utah Grizzlies (2004-05).

Following his playing career Keefe turned to coaching. He has coached hockey for 18 seasons, all in Canada, at various levels.

He started with the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) during the 2006-07 season. Following a run as owner and head coach that led to five consecutive championships, Keefe joined the Sault. Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. Keefe coached the Greyhounds for two and a half seasons before his first professional hockey job as the head coach of the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

During the 2019-20 season, Keefe was elevated to head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, his first coaching job in the NHL. He served as head coach for five seasons.

This next chapter in Keefe’s career will be his first coaching job outside of Ontario, Canada and his second as an NHL head coach.

2. Playoffs?!

Keefe’s teams have spent plenty of time talking about and participating in the playoffs at all levels of his coaching career.

When he was head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team qualified for the playoffs all five years of his tenure and made it to the second round last season. At the AHL level with the Toronto Marlies, Keefe’s team won the 2018 Calder Cup and qualified for the playoffs four of his five seasons.

In the OHL, the Greyhounds qualified for the post season all three years Keefe was coach, including the season he took over halfway through the year. Finally, in the CCHL, the Lumber Kings won five championships and had six playoff appearances during Keefe’s seven years at the helm.

3. Strong Selfie Skills

Keefe is one of the few NHL coaches with an active social media account. Following his time with the Maple Leafs, Keefe went on X to directly share a message about his time as head coach.

Although Keefe doesn't post as frequently as others on X, he's shared some career highlights on the platform over the years. In addition, Keefe will retweet an occasional update from the Belfast Giants, a professional hockey team in Northern Ireland where his brother, Adam, is the head coach.

Full coverage of Sheldon Keefe's hiring and first press conference will be on