The Soo has a .727 point percentage since Keefe was hired (Mike Carroccetto photo)Chances are, you're probably not spending your post-Super Bowl Monday wondering who is front-runner to be the Ontario Hockey League coach of the year. Some of us are doomed to dwell on those topics, though, so it as a good a time as any to wonder if the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds' Sheldon Keefe might go from being on the outside looking in thanks to his past to being acclaimed by his peers in a few short months.
Last season, the OHL's coach of the year honour went to the Saginaw Spirit's Greg Gilbert, who took over a sputtering team in December and steered it to a 20-10-1-5 finish to the regular season and the second round of the playoffs. Keefe, whose chance to take over an OHL team's bench might have come sooner if not for his past with you-know-who, also took over a struggling team in December when 'Hounds GM Kyle Dubas hired him on Dec. 3. At the time, the Greyhounds had a .483 point percentage; since then, they have posted a .727 mark, with 15 wins in 22 games. The 32-year-old Keefe is also keeping his team's feet to the fire, obviously being well-aware that the Greyhounds' docket includes more 6-4 and 7-3 wins than a team with realistic designs on winning a playoff round or two wants.
There is still one-quarter of the regular season ahead, plus the playoffs. There is a case for coaching honours, especially since it always looks more impressive when a team improves on someone's watch rather as opposed to maintaining its prior standard, like the London Knights have under Dale Hunter. By the numbers, Sault Ste. Marie has produced as well as any OHL team since Keefe took the reins. That's probably not all him, but it has a lot to do with him.Read More »from Soo Greyhounds’ Sheldon Keefe, by the numbers, building early coach of the year case