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Keefe promoted to head coach of Maple Leafs

Photo: Christian Bonin/AHL

The Toronto Maple Leafs have named Sheldon Keefe the club’s new head coach.

Keefe replaces Mike Babcock, who has been relieved of his coaching duties.

Keefe, 39, was in the midst of his fifth season as head coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, with the club sitting atop the North Division at 10-2-2-1 (23 points). He guided the Marlies to a record of 199-89-22-9 (.672), including two of the seven best single-season records in AHL history. Toronto went 54-16-5-1 (.750) in 2015-16 and 54-18-2-2 (.737) in 2017-18 and captured the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy each year as the AHL’s regular-season champions.

Keefe’s .672 points percentage is the highest in AHL history among head coaches with at least 200 games coached.

In the postseason, Keefe posted a record of 38-21 and won nine playoff series in four years, winning a Calder Cup championship in 2018 and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016 and 2019.

Keefe also represented the Marlies as coach of the North Division team at the AHL All-Star Classic in 2016 and 2018.

Prior to joining the Maple Leafs organization, Keefe had spent three seasons as head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, earning Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year honors in 2014-15.

The 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.

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.

Marlies assistant coaches A.J. MacLean and Rob Davison will share bench duties tonight as Toronto hosts Laval.