Sheldon Keefe named head coach of the Toronto Marlies

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Sheldon Keefe has been named head coach of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.

Keefe won both the 2014-15 Canadian Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League coach of the year awards after leading the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a league-best 54-12-0-2 record.

“We would like to thank the Soo Greyhounds ownership group and General Manager Kyle Raftis for giving us permission to approach Sheldon a few weeks ago,” said Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant GM Kyle Dubas in a statement. “As we went through this process, given our goal of finding an elite young coach to develop our prospects with the Marlies, it was clear to our management group that Sheldon Keefe was the best choice for our organization. For nearly a decade – since he arrived in Pembroke and through his time in Sault Ste. Marie – Sheldon has simply excelled at maximizing each players potential while coaching very successful teams at the same time. That balance is exactly what we set out to find for the Marlies.

“We feel we have a solid group of young prospects with the Marlies and we look forward to Sheldon leading them beginning with our Development Camp in early July.”

Dubas hired Keefe to coach the Greyhounds when he was named the team’s GM in 2012.

The 34-year-old takes over as Marlies’ bench boss after Gord Dineen was removed last month. Dineen was offered an opportunity to remain with the club in a different role – there is no word on whether he’s accepted the re-assignment.

Dineen’s assistants Derek King and Ben Simon were also fired on May 19.

According to Frank Seravalli of the Daily News, Toronto interviewed Kris Knoblauch, who coached Connor McDavid and the OHL’s Erie Otters, for the Marlies’ position.

During his playing days Keefe appeared in 125 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning scoring 12 goals and 24 points.