Keefe HC

The New Jersey Devils announced today that the team has hired Sheldon Keefe as its 22nd head coach in team history. The announcement was made by President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Sheldon and his family to New Jersey,” said Devils’ Managing Partner David Blitzer. “Finding the right coach to lead this team was our top priority, and Sheldon impressed us during every step of the interview process. He shares in our goal to unlock the full potential of this roster and deliver a fourth Stanley Cup to our fans. Sheldon and Tom will be tremendous partners because they believe in the hard work and resiliency it takes to build a consistent contender. I'm excited for the future of New Jersey Devils hockey."

“This was an invigorating process for me, having met with many qualified candidates and hearing how attractive this position was to them,” said Fitzgerald. “Sheldon jumped to the top of my list when he became available, and I was thrilled when he agreed to be a part of what we are building here. He is an excellent communicator, believes in collaboration, and will take what he has learned previously to make this team a Stanley Cup contender. The organization is incredibly excited to welcome Sheldon, his wife, Jackie, and his two boys, Landon and Wyatt to New Jersey.”

“This is an exciting time, and I’m honored to be a member of the Devils’ organization,” said Keefe. “To have the chance to lead this young, dynamic team and to see the potential that can still be unlocked is all very attractive for me. After meeting with David, Josh, Tom, and other members of the organization and in talking with my family, this was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. I know this organization has a great history of winning and I look forward to getting started to work on leading them back to that level.”

Keefe, 43, joins New Jersey after spending the last five seasons as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2019-20, when he took over the head coaching job in Toronto on Nov. 20, 2019. He recorded a 212-97-40 career record (.665 pts%) during his tenure with the Maple Leafs and his regular season win total ranks fifth all-time in Toronto’s franchise history. His points percentage places him first among all head coaches in Toronto’s franchise history. Keefe was the second fastest coach in NHL history (tie, B. Boudreau) to accumulate 200 wins in an NHL career, behind Dan Bylsma with Pittsburgh. He led Toronto to five consecutive postseason appearances and earned a 16-21 record in 37 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.

In 2021-22, under Keefe, the Maple Leafs set a single-season franchise record with 54 wins and 115 points, while also winning 50+ games in consecutive years from 2021-22 to 2022-23. His teams did not register a points percentage lower than .622 in any season. Toronto’s 1,239 goals scored under Keefe’s guidance ranked second in the NHL behind only Colorado (1,241). Toronto’s power play finished first in the NHL (27.3%) in 2021-22, which also set a Toronto franchise record. The team’s overall 24.9 power-play percentage under Keefe ranked second in the NHL behind Edmonton (28.2%).

Before joining the Maple Leafs, Keefe was head coach for Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Marlies from 2015-16 until his promotion to the NHL in November 2019. Keefe earned a career 199-89-22-9 regular-season record in the AHL with the Marlies and led the team to its first-ever Calder Cup Championship in 2018. The Marlies also won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as AHL regular season champions on two occasions (2016 & 2018).

A native of Brampton, Ontario, he began his coaching and front office career in 2006-07 with Pembroke of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL). Keefe led Pembroke to a CCHL title in his first season, where he served as head coach and general manager. Overall, Pembroke won five consecutive CCHL titles from 2006-07 to 2010-11 with Keefe serving in a management and coaching capacity. Keefe continued his coaching career with Sault. Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) from 2012-13 to 2014-15, and the team clinched postseason berths in all three seasons.

As a player, Keefe was selected by Tampa Bay in the second round, 47th overall, in the 1999 NHL Draft. The right wing played in 125 career NHL games with Tampa Bay from 2000-01 to 2002-03. Keefe totaled 120 career games at the AHL level (2001-02 to 2004-05) with Springfield, Hershey, and Utah. He also played in 13 games during the 2000-01 season with Detroit of the International Hockey League (IHL).

Keefe played three seasons in the OHL with Toronto and Barrie, where he was named OHL Rookie of the Year in 1999 with Barrie. He also helped Barrie win an OHL title in 2000 when he won the Eddie Powers Trophy as the league’s top scorer with 121 points (48g-73a).