Soo Greyhounds Name Sheldon Keefe Head Coach

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Soo Greyhounds Name Sheldon Keefe Head Coach December 5, 2012 7:37 AM

When the Soo Greyhounds hired Sheldon Keefe Monday to replace fired coach Mike Stapleton, many eyebrows were raised in disbelief in the hockey community.

Those who follow the OHL will remember Keefe, Keefe was a member of the 1999-2000 Barrie Colts whose outrageous behavior made the Memorial Cup runners up famous for on and off ice behavior. As captain of the Colts, he famously refused to shake the hand of Dave Branch, the OHL’s commissioner, not once, but twice during that Memorial Cup run. Keefe said it was a “spur-of-the-moment lack of judgement,” that he has regretted for a long time.

The one-time OHL bad boy bought the junior Pembroke Lumber Kings and became coach and general manager. In six seasons running the Lumber Kings, Keefe developed into a great coach, winning five consecutive CCHL championships and a national title. Keefe also caught the eye of Hockey Canada and served as an assistant coach for Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge.

Keefe compiled a 265-76-20 regular season record in the CCHL and became the fastest coach in league history to reach 200 wins. He had a post-season record of 67-22.

Keefe becomes the Greyhounds’ 18th head coach in franchise history and the team’s seventh in the last 12 years.

Keefe takes over as coach of a troubled team, both on and off the ice. After a good start, the Greyhounds sit in seventh place in the OHL’s Western Conference. They’ve had several players suspended for on-ice transgressions this season. Three players are also playing while awaiting trial on sexual assault charges that were raised over the summer.

Sheldon Keefe was hired by 26-year-old GM Kyle Dubas. Keefe and Dubas now form the youngest coach-GM team in the OHL and are incharge of restoring credibility to a once great franchise. The days of three consecutive Memorial Cup appearances are long gone.

Who better to lead than a once-troubled OHL player who appears to have redeemed his reputation? A man can not speak to the truths of struggle without having experienced them in some for or another. Perhaps Sheldon Keefe is not only the right man for the job, but maybe the most qualified man for the job based upon his on ice, behind the bench and life changing hockey related experiences.

Scott Mohns a former Lumber King and Petawawa native, takes over as coach and general manager of the Pembroke Lumber Kings after four seasons as an assistant coach. Lumber Kings Assistant coach and assistant general manager Shawn Cation will continue in his current role and Keefe will still own the team and be involved in administration activities.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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