Keefe, who has recently served as head coach of the Maple Leafs' AHL farm team, was promoted to the position late Wednesday afternoon after the team announced the firing of Mike Babcock, who was hired in May 2015.
Keefe played parts of five seasons in pro hockey and played 125 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"At this time, we collectively felt it was best to make a change. 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". He signed a contract at $50-million Dollars over eight years.
The Maple Leafs went 173-133-45 in 351 over five seasons with Babcock as coach.
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Babcock came to Toronto with an impressive resume, having won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and back-to-back Olympic gold medals with Canada in 2010 and 2014.
The Maple Leafs, with Dubas as an assistant GM, hired Keefe to lead their American Hockey League affiliate in 2015.
The Maple Leafs have lost their last six games and sit in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with a 9-10-4 record. It was clear how Dubas felt, after the Leafs' first-round exit in April, as he left his coach's return wide open to speculation for almost two weeks before giving a short statement to TSN's Bob McKenzie that they were on the same page.
Though Babcock deserves plenty of credit for taking a young and flawed roster to the playoffs in three straight years from 2017 to '19, expectations continued to mount in Toronto.
Keefe joined the Marlies after a successful three-year stint as head coach for the Sault Ste.
In 2017-18 and 2018-19, he helped produce the first 100-point seasons for the Leafs since 2003-04, but his teams failed to advance past the first round of the postseason. The Maple Leafs are too talented to be struggling this much, and a change was simply needed for both sides.