The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have changed direction in the front office, announcing the hiring of 28-year-old Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds general manager Kyle Dubas on Tuesday and the departures of vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin and vice-president and assistant general manager Claude Loiselle.
Dubas, who spent the past three seasons at the helm of his hometown OHL franchise, joins the NHL club as assistant general manager to David Nonis.
"Kyle is a young executive that has made a strong name for himself in hockey with a progressive style, work ethic and maturation beyond his years," said Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan in a release. "He has a fresh approach that we feel will benefit our club for years to come."
"At the same time, I would like to thank Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle for their tireless dedication during their time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are both very accomplished hockey executives who have helped put this team in a position to take the next step."
Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Dubas was hired to run the team when he was just 25, making him the second youngest GM in OHL history. His father is a former Greyhounds intern and his grandfather Walter coached the team from 1960-67.
Concussions ended Dubas's playing days when he was 14, but didn't curb his passion for the game. He took a job as a hockey operations assistant with the Hounds, exposing him to player development and the logistics of running a junior franchise.
A graduate of Brock University's sports management program, he landed a job with Uptown Sports Management, becoming the youngest player agent certified by the National Hockey League Players' Association. Dubas was representing players such as Kyle Clifford and Andrew Desjardins and helping Uptown establish offices in Calgary and Stockholm when the GM opportunity arrived.
"The chance to work for the Toronto Maple Leafs is like a dream come true," said Dubas. "I'm truly excited to begin helping this team win and learn from men like Brendan Shanahan and Dave Nonis. I'm very thankful for this opportunity, but equally grateful to the Greyhounds organization and the city of Sault Ste. Marie for helping put me in this position. The Leafs are focused on building a team that will enjoy long-term success and I am excited to play a role in it."
Dr. Lou Lukenda, the Greyhounds president and chairman of the board, said the club granted Shanahan permission to speak to Dubas last week. In a release he thanked Dubas for the "mammoth contributions he has made to our organization over the past three years."
"As an organization we are very excited for the opportunity that has presented itself for Kyle starting today," Lukenda said. "It has been a pleasure to see the passion, dedication and commitment he has shown our organization over his tenure as GM while ensuring the sustained success for the Soo Greyhounds program."