The Mike Babcock era in Toronto is over.
The Maple Leafs fired Babcock Wednesday afternoon, a day after they lost 4-2 to the Vegas Golden Knights, which extended their losing streak to six games.
Taking over for Babcock is Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe.
“Today, we made the decision to relieve Mike Babcock of his coaching duties and named Sheldon Keefe our new head coach,” Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a release announcing the move. “Over parts of the last five seasons, Mike has played an integral role in changing the direction of our franchise.
“Mike’s commitment and tireless work ethic has put our organization in a better place and we are extremely grateful and appreciative of the foundation he has helped us build here.
“At this time, we collectively felt that it was best to make a change to Sheldon Keefe. 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.”
Babcock guided the Leafs to a record of 173-133-45 in 351 games over five seasons.