Report: Toronto Maple Leafs extend head coach Sheldon Keefe
The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly extended the contract of head coach, Sheldon Keefe. According to Pierre LeBrun, he has agreed to a 2 year deal which will take him through the 2023-24 season.
“They believe in him, but it’s a prove-me contract at two years, no five,” LeBrun said on TSN.
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Maple Leafs extend Sheldon Keefe
Keefe, 41, took over the bench for the Maple Leafs during the 2019-20 season for the fired Mike Babcock. He went 27-15-5 in a COVID shortened season.
“At this time, we collectively felt that it was best to make a change to Sheldon,” President Brendan Shanahan said at the time of his hiring. “Sheldon’s record with the Marlies in terms of development and on-ice success during his time in our organization has compelled us all to feel that he is the right person to take us to the next stage in our evolution.”
Last year, the Leafs posted a 35-14-7 record to win the All-Canadian North Division under Keefe. The contract extension is a huge vote of confidence for the young coach, although playoff success has eluded the franchise.
Maple Leafs believe they will get it done
Auston Matthews spoke with ESPN this summer. The topic of last season’s playoff loss in the opening round came up and he laid it all out there.
“It’s obviously really frustrating. It sucks right now,” Matthews said. “People have opinions and they can say what they want, and rightfully so, but I really believe in the team and I really believe in all of the players on the team.”
Despite his disappointment in how they lost to the Canadiens, Matthews’ belief in the core of the Leafs remains unshaken. “I truly believe that we’re going to get it done,” he explained. “We’re going to be better from our losses, and from the adversity that we faced.”
Heading into the new season, even Shanahan wanted to reassure fans everyone feels their pain.
“The feeling the fans have exists within our players and our dressing room,” Shanahan said. “There is an anger, even at themselves, and anger might be the wrong word, but there is a sort of determination to get the job done. That’s what I feel heading into camp.”
This will be a big season for the Leafs, as management continues to believe in its players and head coach.