TORONTO — Kyle Dubas is taking the high road.
The former Maple Leafs general manager — fired last week to end a stunning five-day stretch in the wake of Toronto's second-round playoff exit — released a statement Tuesday on Twitter, but didn't get into specifics regarding his dismissal.
The Sault Ste. Marie native — who began his rebuttal with an "onward" caption — was abruptly handed his walking papers Friday to cap a tumultuous period that began with a bizarre end-of-season press conference in which the 37-year-old executive questioned if he wanted to continue in the role.
Leafs president Brendan Shanahan outlined in great detail the process that led to him axing Dubas during a Friday afternoon press conference, hours after Toronto announced it was "parting ways" with the GM.
In his statement today, Dubas did not directly counter anything his former boss said.
"While I understand there is interest surrounding the circumstances of my departure, I will not get into the specifics of what I consider to be reasonable and consistent but private discussions," he wrote.
"In the days that I felt I needed to assess and evaluate my own view to the future, both with respect to the necessary direction of the club and ensuring that I had the full support of my family for what I knew would be required in the off-season and years to follow, the organization, as is their right to do, decided to go in a different direction," Dubas continued.
In his hometown, Dubas' story is already the stuff of legend. A dressing room attendant for the Soo Greyhounds when he was a teenager, he eventually worked his way up to become the Hounds' general manager before being lured to the Leafs' front office in 2014 as an assistant GM.
Four years later — at the tender age of 32 — Dubas was promoted to GM of the Leafs, taking over from Lou Lamoriello in May 2018 as part of a succession plan under the direction of team president Brendan Shanahan.
"It was an honour to be able to work in such an inspiring place, with dedicated, loyal people and an extremely passionate fan base," Dubas wrote in his statement. "The impact of that and the relationships with all of the people at [Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment], from the board of directors through to the ushers at Scotiabank Arena, will forever hold a dear place in our hearts."
"To the players, coaches and staff at the facility each day, past and present, thank you for your passion and commitment at every step of the journey together," he continued. "It was a tremendous pleasure to work alongside you each day. We will roll from here."
The statement is signed: "The Dubas Family."
Of note, Dubas has altered his Twitter profile. It now reads "Husband & Dad" and lists his location as Sault Ste. Marie.
According to Shanahan's version of events, he advised Dubas, whose contract was set to expire June 30, not to speak with reporters following the Leafs' five-game loss to the Florida Panthers without clarity on the future.
Dubas said during that May 15 press conference that the 2022-23 season was difficult on his young family and that he needed time to assess his path.
Shanahan, who had initially wanted to keep Dubas on board, said five days later at his media availability that he started to feel differently as the week progressed.
Shanahan said Dubas sent him an email Thursday night indicating he did indeed want to continue as GM, but that came after the team — again, according to its president — received increased contract demands.
By that time, Shanahan said he'd made up his mind the Original Six franchise needed a change.
Toronto had unprecedented regular-season success under Dubas, but was unable to find traction in the playoffs during his five years in charge until this spring when the Leafs won a series for the first time in nearly two decades before meekly bowing out to Florida.
The departure of Dubas leaves a boatload of questions in Toronto heading into what could be an era-defining summer.
The Leafs' new GM will have to decide the fate of head coach and Dubas loyalist Sheldon Keefe, while Auston Matthews and William Nylander can sign contract extensions as of July 1.
Matthews and fellow star Mitch Marner have full no-movement clauses kick in the same day, while Nylander will have a 10-team list. Matthews and Nylander can both become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2024, while Marner's deal runs until July 2025.
The Canadian Press, with files from SooToday