It’s official, Mike Babcocks time as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs has come to an end.
Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan announced today that Mike Babcock has been relieved of his coaching duties and Sheldon Keefe has been named the Club’s new head coach. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) November 20, 2019
Sheldon Keefe has been hired to replace Babcock, who has been with the club since the 2015/16 season.
While many fans grew tired of Mikes coaching style, it’s tough to argue the success he has had. While he never managed to get out of the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, he coached the Leafs to a record 105pt regular season, as well as another 100pt season. He organized a terrific “tank” season, finishing last in the NHL, where the Leafs eventually won the draft lottery and drafted star centre Auston Matthews, while the team looked more organized and respectable than they had in a very long time.
After starting this season with a record of 9-10-4, and having little success over the past calendar year, it was time for a change.
Make no mistake, he is all class, as he had this to say on his way out:
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun spoke with Babcock over the phone and provided the following statement:
“Larry Tanenbaum talked me into going to Toronto. I would have never gone until I met Larry. He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met. Had an absolutely riot and met another friend for life in Lou Lamoriello. I thought we did an amazing job taking a franchise from where it was to where we had 100-point seasons, we set franchise records if I’m not mistaken, got into the playoffs. I’m disappointed, we didn’t have the start to the year we wanted and that’s on me.
“I want to thank the fans, I want to thank the media, I want to thank the city, it was spectacular, I loved every second of it. And I wish the new group nothing but success. Morgan Rielly has been here the whole time. I can’t thank him enough. And all the players I got an opportunity to coach. It’s been fantastic and I wish them nothing but success.’’
On behalf of Leafs Hub, I’d like to thank you for your service Mr. Babcock. We all wish it had gone more smoothly.