Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The struggling Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Mike Babcock, the team announced Wednesday.
Leafs president Brendan Shanahan named Sheldon Keefe, the head coach of the AHL's Toronto Marlies, as the club's new coach.
"Today, we made the decision to relieve Mike Babcock of his coaching duties and named Sheldon Keefe our new head coach," Shanahan said in a statement. "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."
Shanahan hired Babcock, who won the Stanley Cup in 2008 as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, in May 2015 after he failed to reach an agreement with the Red Wings on a contract extension.
The Maple Leafs have stumbled to a 9-10-4 record this season, and are in the midst of a six-game winless streak. Babcock has a career coaching record of 700-418-19-164 with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Red Wings and Maple Leafs.
Keefe, 39, was in his fifth season leading the Marlies. In 319 regular-season games, he guided the team to a 199-89-22-9 record and won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's top team in the regular season on two occasions.