Toronto Maple Leafs fire head coach Mike Babcock

Toronto Maple Leafs fire head coach Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Mike Babcock on Wednesday and named Toronto Marlies boss Sheldon Keefe as his replacement.

No other coaching changes will be made at this time, leaving Dave Hakstol and Paul McFarland as Keefe's assistants.

The Mike Babcock era is over in Toronto. He exits with three years remaining on that contract, having compiled a 173-133-41 record.

After Toronto finished last overall in his debut season and won the right to draft Auston Matthews first overall in 2016, Babcock led Toronto to the playoffs in each of the past three years, but never beyond the first round.

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith, who spent four years as an assistant on Babcock's staff in Toronto, praised Babcock for his professionalism.

Bringing Keefe into a team where the morale is clearly low, being on a six-game losing streak, has the potential for both good and bad outcomes.

Babcock's fate this season seemed like it would be decided come playoff time.

Replacing a coach was the least complicated move to make, as teams are not necessarily interested in making trades this early in the season. He helped the Marlies capture the franchise's first Calder Cup championship in 2018. Currently, the Marlies are 10-2-2-1 on the season.

Keefe joined the Greyhounds after being hired by current Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, who held the same role with the Greyhounds at the time.

There is no question that Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe have a chemistry that could potentially translate very well to an National Hockey League level, and honestly I am excited to see this tremendously talented team be taken on by a new set of eyes. Keefe was named the CHL and OHL Coach of the Year in 2014-15.

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