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Hounds fire Stapleton - name new head coach (photo)

Monday, December 03, 2012   by: Staff




Stapleton relieved of duties; Keefe named Hounds new head coach

Soo Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Dubas announced early Monday morning that Mike Stapleton was relieved of his coaching duties and Sheeldon Keefe [shown] has been named the team’s new head coach.

He becomes the 18th different head coach in Greyhounds team history.

"This was extremely difficult decision. Over the past 20 months working with Mike we have gone through a lot of ups and downs together, and become very close friends. I would like to thank Mike for his hard work and dedication to our program over his time here. These young men here have learned a lot from Mike, and when they look back on their time being coached by Mike they will realize that they have learned a lot about developing as a young man and a hockey player,” began Dubas.

The 32-year-old Keefe joins the Hounds after spending the past six seasons as GM/head coach of the Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL).

During that time the Brampton, ON native led the Kings to a league record five consecutive championships (2007-2011) accumulating a regular season record of 265-76-20 along with a 67-22 post-season mark.

He became the fastest coach in league history to 200 wins and also guided the Kings to the 2007 and 2011 Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Championship and 2011 RBC Cup Canadian Junior A National Championship.

Sheldon was selected by Hockey Canada as an assistant coach of Team Canada East for the 2012 World Jr. A Challenge and was named head coach for the 2011 Canadian Jr. A Top Prospect game.

"In every conversation that I had regarding a replacement for Mike, whether it was with NHL scouts or executives, Hockey Canada personnel, or his competitors at the Junior A level one of the first names that kept coming up with regards to 'best coach available' was Sheldon Keefe,” commented Dubas.

"As a young coach, Sheldon has had unprecedented success in Pembroke. He is a proven winner as a head coach and feel that his experiences with Pembroke and Hockey Canada will allow him to have success at the Major Junior Level."

"Sheldon's Pembroke teams are renowned for being well prepared and well structured while playing a high-pressure, disciplined, puck possession style. Given that body of work, I felt Sheldon was the best coach to have our team reach it's full potential,” concluded the Hounds GM.

Keefe played two seasons in the OHL between the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors and Barrie Colts.

In 1998-99 he was named the OHL Rookie of the Year and later advanced to the Mastercard Memorial Cup with Barrie in 1999-00.

After being drafted 47th overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning he spent 125 games in the NHL before ending his playing career in the AHL in 2004-05.

Sheldon Keefe bio

D.O.B. – September 17, 1980; hometown – Brampton, Ontario

Coaching/management achievements and awards:

  • CCHL General Manager of the Year 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 as voted by league general managers

  • CCHL Coach of the Year 2008 – second in voting 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 as voted by league general managers

  • Set a league record with five consecutive league championships 2007-2011

  • Regular season championships 2007, 2008, 2011 – second by one point in 2009, 2010

  • Over six seasons a regular season (W-L-T) record 265-76-20 playoff (W-L) record 67-22 (*prior to this


  • Highest regular season winning percentage and fastest coach to 200 wins in league history

  • Record of 16-1 in best of seven playoff series

  • Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Champion (2007, 2011) finalist (2008, 2010) semi-finalist (2009)

  • RBC Cup Canadian Junior A National Champion (2011), semi-finalist (2007)

  • CCHL coaching alumni include Bryan Murray, Bob Hartley, Jacques Martin and current CHL coaches Eric Veilleux - (Shawinigan/Baie-Comeau), Chris Byrne (Ottawa) and Todd Gill (Kingston)

  • Two players drafted directly to NHL – Matthew Peca (Tampa Bay), Jamie Phillips (Winnipeg)

  • Selected by Hockey Canada as assistant coach of Team Canada East for 2012 World Jr. A Challenge

  • Selected by Hockey Canada as head coach of 2011 Canadian Jr. A Top Prospects Games in Langley, BC

  • Attended 2012 Hockey Canada Program of Excellence Coaches Conference in Calgary, AB

  • Named Upper Ottawa Valley Young Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 as owner of Lumber Kings

  • Named Renfrew County United Way 2011 Honorary Fundraising Campaign chairman

Other notes:

During the 2004-2005 season while playing for the Utah Grizzlies, he was named the winner of the American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Greater Salt Lake Valley community and charitable organizations.

He was the leader of the Grizzlies *Go For The Goal* program that taught area elementary school children life lessons including stay in school, say no to drugs and strive for academic excellence.

In addition, Sheldon participated in numerous stops on the *Gather with the Grizzlies* library reading tour and was the point player for the Grizzlies holiday hospital gift presentations and also worked with the Ronald McDonald House during the holidays serving food to needy children.

OHL Accolades (Player)

  • OHL All-Rookie Team (1999)

  • OHL Rookie of the Year (1999)

  • OHL Second All-Star Team (2000),

  • OHL Top Scorer (2000)

  • Canadian Major Junior First All Star-Team (2000)

  • Memorial Cup Tournament All-Star Team (2000)


Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
shhh 12/3/2012 9:26:49 AM Report

It's about time!
GotRotties 12/3/2012 9:42:29 AM Report

Dont know what kind of a coach Stapleton was BUT I wonder?? is it all the bad coaches or is it the people drafting?? I would take a look at that! doesnt seem possible to me that we just get bad coaches all the time, maybe the big cheeses in the org should look at themselves!
Nanax5 12/3/2012 9:50:08 AM Report

I really think the Greyhounds have the talent. They just can't put 60 minutes of hockey together. They have only done it in 2 games. I think they need someone to stop coddling them. Maybe start cracking the whip like Craig did!!!!!
Wicket 12/3/2012 9:53:22 AM Report

woo hoo, new YOUNG blood, best wishes to him, hope he can turn this team around and help them achieve their potential, both individually and as a team.
mr.monty 12/3/2012 10:11:54 AM Report

the hounds need to stay out of the penalty box for cheap shots. 5 on 5 is how you win!
FRUDS 12/3/2012 10:17:51 AM Report

I agree with GotRotties -change up the coach seems to be the easiest many times in a row??

A little respect with the headline would be nice too - only people that get fired these days are on TV by Donald Trump. Stapleton's approach is what they wanted - now they've changed their mind. They knew what type of a coach he was before they hired him. A respectful family man with a wife and 2 children in this community -a little respect in the wording of the headline would seems in order.
GotRotties 12/3/2012 10:28:30 AM Report

That's right Fruds...and ever more of a slap in his familys face 3 weeks before Christmas..that's an organization I would never want to work for!!
tommy_boi07 12/3/2012 10:29:01 AM Report

What a relief, and perfect timing early in the season. This years team definitely has the talent and potential to be one of the best in the country but struggled because of a lack of discipline, resulting in many suspensions. I also didn't feel he was teaching the team enough and managing the play as well as was needed. Hopefully the new coach can bring the team together and reduce the amount of stupid penalties and suspensions. Brings me some more optimism of what could come this season!
tommy_boi07 12/3/2012 10:44:34 AM Report

Also, when the coaching staff or management are relieved of their duties ANYWHERE in sports it is always referred to as being fired. Don't you people have anything better to do than to find anything possible negative to say about the city or sootoday, its a sad time of year for this to happen but if it happened any later it would be too late in the season, this is better for the organization.
FRUDS 12/3/2012 10:53:44 AM Report

HEY...tommyboy.... what is positive about what you said?? reread your comments..buddyboy... struggled, lack of dicipline... stupid penalties.... those are not positive words. Don't you have anything better to do than pick apart other peoples compassion for someone else? We all want to see the Greyhounds win - sootoday could have picked a different headline is all we said...and yes... 3 weeks before Christmas is not perfect timing.
duster_b 12/3/2012 11:14:10 AM Report

its about time, why was mike hired in the first place anyway,? we have some good talent here and i think he didnt know how to use the talent he has and the future looks bright also, maybe now we see agood hard working team excell finally..good luck sheldon
tommy_boi07 12/3/2012 11:18:40 AM Report

While I can understand your compassion for mr Stapelton, I too feel for him, losing his job 3 weeks before christmas is terrible, although he will still be paid through the end of his contract. Waiting til after christmas would have been too late to save the season with the direction the team was heading. The perfect timing would have been to do it earlier in the season. As a season ticket holder I am sure 90% of fans will agree with the decision to fire him. As for my comments being negative, I wrote those all in being optimistic for what is to come. There was clearly a discipline problem with the amount of penalties and vetrans being suspended early on. When the team captain recieves a 5 game suspension in october, something is wrong
JerryLundegard 12/3/2012 11:33:29 AM Report

Hahahaha....lmao....3weeks before Christmas? You think they null and void his contract? He gets paid to do nothing now....lmao..foolish comment
Dictionary 12/3/2012 11:48:26 AM Report

Really? the guy has a losing record since he got here and a bunch of crybabies are touting that they did it before xmas? Hockey is results oriented, and he didn't produce. Better before Christmas while the season is salvageable than after Xmas when we're already on the outside looking in.
kmw 12/3/2012 11:54:06 AM Report

tommy_boi07 12/3/2012 12:00:39 PM Report

I'm not sure a change in the GM will do anything good. He's better than torrie already, torrie would have never thought to fire the coach this early in the season, always waited until it was too late. Dubas however recognized this needed to be done and I also think as put together a great team. We've got young team with some amazing talent. Just to name a few: Mccann is going to develop into a great player, Tolchinsky is already one of the best forewards in the league, Sproul is one of Detroits top prospects and Nurse is rated second in the OHL for this years draft. Its too early to jump to firing the GM, if we don't make the playoffs this year, then it might be time to reasess the situation.
raggg 12/3/2012 12:01:20 PM Report

this new coach has baggage hopefully none of it will come with him
players 12/3/2012 12:25:07 PM Report

Tommy you gesture that torrie wouldn't have fired him.Sad part is Dave torrie had a plan and Greg Gilbert was going to be named head coach.Then we would not have gone through this crap for the last two years >mike was a great assistant coach but not a head coach.As for the baggage that Sheldon has I beleive this makes him a stronger individual and believe he has grown from the situation.Other rumour to date is that Harstburg, Fremlin, Nolan, and Adam foote buying the hounds.Now that would be GREAT for the soo greyhounds
keeper 12/3/2012 12:47:59 PM Report

Should have cleaned house at the end of the season. The Dubas experiment is a total disaster and he should be gone, a patchwork solution will not work.
Sam C 12/3/2012 12:49:54 PM Report

Not sure who writes their Media Releases, but...

"He became the fastest coach in league history to 200 wins..." -- so, how fast was he? Was he running, on skates, or driving a car?

No doubt the writer meant that "He reached 200 wins faster than any coach in league history."
tommy_boi07 12/3/2012 12:50:36 PM Report

I'm not saying torrie wouldn't have fired him, I'm saying he would have waited until further into the season when it was too late to save the season. As far as I'm concerned, Kyle Dubas has been doing a great job cleaning up the mess that the organization was in when he started. As for the hartsburg rumour, I think that would be one of the best things that the team could hope for, hopefully it is true!
PipeBomb 12/3/2012 12:55:26 PM Report

About time!!! Mike was not producing and we needed a change! To those who are a little slow and are crying about him being fired before Christmas. WAKE UP. We needed a change now while the season was still salvageable. When should they have canned him? Feb when it's too late. You do know he gets paid out right? The headline is fine, these crybabies will whine about anything!! GO HOUNDS GO!!!!
Nimrod 12/3/2012 12:56:00 PM Report

He is a young man who fought had to move forward with his life and we can hope he will inspire the Hounds to "move forward" for the rest of this season and be a team to be proud of.
woodstove 12/3/2012 2:30:04 PM Report

Coaching is a tough business. There are never any guarantees other than your pay. He is still getting paid so there will be no hardship.
But this organization is responsible to its fans.
Also, this team lacks discipline. They need a coach that they will fear and not only respect. Last hound coach that possessed this quality was Hartsy.
doggs 12/3/2012 2:31:50 PM Report

GREAT move ''''' We are a Lot better than 7th place ..Loads of talent on this team ...Let's get to work Sheldon ....
sportsfan17 12/3/2012 6:36:14 PM Report


I love that someone said Torrie had a plan. He'd been running the team into the ground since Day 1.

His only saving grace ever was Craig Hartsburg.
the coach 12/3/2012 8:24:07 PM Report

I didn't renew my seasons tickets this year, and it might be some time before I do. Many of my cronies have not renewed and we are saying for the most part, manager and coach gotta go. But if Dubas promoted Stapletons' exit, hey maybe the kid has some backbone. Maybe we should take a longer look. With discipline, this new coach will do just fine.
littlejoe 12/3/2012 11:31:46 PM Report

Old proverb "if things don't change their going to stay the same" Sorry Mike, nice guys finish last. Mike it was a pleasure
having you as a coach of the Greyhounds.
I wish you and your family the best this
holiday season.
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