The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year contract extension.
"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," said Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager. "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."
"It's been a privilege and honour to be part of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and head coach of the Toronto Marlies for the past four seasons," said Keefe. "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. 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."
Keefe, 38, has spent four seasons behind the Marlies bench with an overall regular season record of 189-87-20-1 and led the team to the franchise's first Calder Cup championship in 2018. Earlier this season, Keefe moved past Dallas Eakins (157) for the most regular season wins (189) by a coach in franchise history and has the highest winning percentage (.688) of any Marlies coach-to-date. During the 2017-18 AHL regular season, Keefe led the Marlies to 54 regular season wins for the second time (2015-16), winning the team's second Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL team with the most points or highest points percentage.
Prior to joining the Maple Leafs organization, Keefe had spent three seasons as head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. After joining the team as a mid-season replacement, Keefe led the club back to the playoffs. In the following two seasons the Greyhounds skated to a regular season record of 98-29-0-2 while reaching the second round (2013-14) and third round (2014-15) of the playoffs. Keefe earned both 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 Brampton, ON native served as head coach and general manager of the CCHL's Pembroke Lumber Kings, capturing five straight league titles and a RBC Cup national title in 2011.
As a player, Keefe skated 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 Entry Draft.