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Dubas 'fortunate' in time with Maple Leafs

Kyle Dubas continues to learn on the job in his role as assistant general manager with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs
FILE PHOTO: Kyle Dubas (Right) seen laughing in 2011 alongside team President and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Lou Lukenda as he is introduced as General Manager of the Soo Greyhounds hockey team at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste Marie, ON.

He’s been involved with the Toronto Maple Leafs for two years and it’s a continual learning experience for Kyle Dubas.

The 29-year-old serves as the Maple Leafs assistant general manager while also serving as the general manager of the organization’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

In town for the 2016 Team Jacobs Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, Dubas spoke of how “fortunate” he is to work with the management staff currently in place with the Maple Leafs.

“I feel lucky and fortunate with where we’re at personally because on a given day I can lean on Mike (Babcock), Lou (Lamoriello) or Brendan Shanahan. We’ve got Cliff Fletcher in the office as well,” Dubas said. “In regards to our salary cap and the CBA, we’ve got Brandon Pridham, who is one of if not the best in the business.

“My personal ability to learn every single day is special and I feel very fortunate and lucky to have that in all facets,” Dubas said.

The former Soo Greyhounds general manager also said it’s hard to pinpoint what the biggest thing he’s learned since the Lamoriello hiring last summer is. He did say the passion shown by Lamoriello, Babcock and Shanahan is special.

“What you learn from the two of them (Lamoriello and Babcock) and from Shanny is their passion and their energy for (the sport) is unbelievable,” Dubas also said. “Every single day they come and they have a great energy and spirit to them that doesn’t waver. It’s been really special that way. You see that and aspire to have it.”

Babcock, who completed his first season behind the Maple Leafs bench in the spring, has been impressed by Dubas.

“He’s a really smart hockey man who is committed to and loves his job,” Babcock said. “He has passion for it and that allows him to put in a lot of hours.

“He’s a great kid and doing a great job and has had a huge impact on our franchise,” Babcock also said.

Both Dubas and Babcock spoke highly of former Greyhounds Coach Sheldon Keefe who is coming off his first season behind the bench of the American League’s Toronto Marlies.

“He’s a good man and a good young coach,” Babcock said. “It’s important the job that him and Kyle have of running our farm team and developing prospects for us. The better job they do, the better coach I am.

“We work closely together,” Babcock added. “He’s got a bright future in the game but right now he’s developing players for the Leafs and doing a really nice job.”

Dubas expanded on Babcock’s assessment of Keefe’s player development with the Marlies.

“In Sheldon’s case, a lot of people want to see him win and they’re judging him on that but it’s how are the players developing and how are they evolving,” Dubas said. “That spoke for itself when guys were called up to the Leafs that were under his tutelage during the season. He did such a great job in getting them ready to go up and play with the Leafs. He’s developed a great relationship with Mike where they talk all the time. He sits in on all the meetings that he can with Mike. It’s been pretty special to see that and see him continue to evolve and improve as a coach. He’s got an incredibly bright future ahead of him.”

The youth movement in Toronto has fans showing some excitement in the provincial capital.

“People are excited now because they see the young players that come up at the end of the year and they get excited about where we’re heading,” Dubas said.

“We still finished 30th out of 30 teams,” Dubas added. “We had a good season with the Marlies with a young team there. That’s excited a lot of people combined with the fact that the team played really well when they young guys came up (to the NHL).”

Dubas went on to say the team is “moving in the right direction.”

“From our perspective, everything is going well,” Dubas said. “We have a huge amount of work ahead of us but with Brendan, Lou and Mike leading the charge in all facets, things are certainly moving in the right direction. We’ve got a good collection of young players on the way. We’ve tried to supplement it here a little bit in the off-season with a few additions but we weren’t heavily involved in free agency. We’re excited about the coming years. We think we’re on the right track but it’s only going to get harder from here and that’s exciting."

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Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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