BREAKING NEWS: Leafs fire Sheldon Keefe

May 9, 2024 | Headlines, Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced this morning that head coach Sheldon Keefe has been “relieved of his duties” following another first-round loss.

The firing comes two days after Keefe was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame, and five days after the overtime Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins.

Just two hours after the Leafs made the official announcement, Keefe posted a video to his X account thanking the fans and team.

“I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s a dream come true for a boy from Brampton,” he said.

He thanked the staff, players and fans for their support and dedication.

“I didn’t get it done in the playoffs,” he said. “I didn’t help push our team over the line and deliver. I accept responsibility for that, no excuses.

“That’s the job, I didn’t get it done,” Keefe said.

He said he plans to take a break from media and wanted to create the video to say goodbye, as writing and a note “didn’t seem like enough.”

“I don’t know what comes next, but I’ll be ready for it,” he said

Keefe was named head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs in November of 2019.

“In his first 20 games, the team went 15-4-1, the best start of any coach in franchise history,” the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame site biography for Keefe read.

Keefe has a 212-97-40 regular season but only generated a 16-21-0 record in the playoffs since 2019.

He was emotional at an end-of-season press conference on Monday after the Leafs lost in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins.

“We didn’t get results and we haven’t met expectations, and as head coach I take responsibility for that,” he said.

Last year was the first time the team had advanced to the second round since 2004.

The Leaf’s X (formerly Twitter) account posted the news at 10:05 a.m. and said the team “will immediately begin the search for a new head coach.”

Speculations have begun that former St. Louis Blues coach and Stanley Cup winner Craig Berube will take on the role.

General manager Brad Treliving said the decision to relieve was difficult.

“Sheldon is an excellent coach and a great man, however, we determined a new voice is needed to help the team push through to meet our ultimate goal,” he said.

Keefe’s career as a coach began in 2012 when he was selected as the head coach for the OHL Soo Greyhounds and then as the head coach for the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League, where he won the Calder Cup in 2018-2019.

Keefe’s promotion to the Leafs by former GM Kyle Dubas followed former coach Mike Babcock’s termination.

Leafs president Brendan Shanahan is expected to speak at a press conference this Friday alongside Treliving and Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment CEO.