The Toronto Maple Leafs are committed to keeping Sheldon Keefe behind their bench.
Keefe signed a multi-year contract extension with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, keeping him the team’s head coach for the foreseeable future. The length of the deal or its value were not announced.
“Coaching this team has been a great privilege, and I’m truly excited at the opportunity to continue building towards our ultimate goal,” said Keefe in a statement. “We have so many great players and people within our organization that I’m grateful to work with, and together our commitment to team success remains steadfast.”
However, Toronto has yet to translate that success to the post-season.
The Maple Leafs beat Tampa Bay in six games in the first round of the 2022-23 playoffs, its first playoff series win since 2004, but went on to lose to the eighth-seeded Florida Panthers in the next round.
Signing Keefe to an extension is another key piece of off-season business done for new Leafs general manager Brad Treliving, who signed star centre Auston Matthews to a four-year $53-million US extension last week.
“Since I’ve joined the Maple Leafs, I’ve been very impressed with Sheldon,” said Treliving. “He has shown great leadership skills with his staff and our players, and has a clear vision for this team and where it needs to get to.
“Sheldon has established himself as one of the top coaches in the league and I look forward to working alongside him as we head into the upcoming season.”
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Keefe first joined the Maple Leafs organization as head coach of the minor-league Toronto Marlies in June 2015. In parts of five seasons with the Marlies, Keefe led the club to a 199-89-22-9 record in 319 regular season games.
In that span, the Marlies won the franchise’s first ever Calder Cup championship in 2018, and they also won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as AHL regular season champions on two occasions. The team made four consecutive playoff appearances with Keefe at the helm and posted a 38-21 post-season record.
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