The Toronto Maple Leafs relieved Sheldon Keefe of head-coaching duties Thursday.

According to a statement from the club, a search for Keefe’s replacement will begin immediately.

“Today’s decision was difficult,” Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said. “Sheldon is an excellent coach and a great man; however, we determined a new voice is needed to help the team push through to reach our ultimate goal. We thank Sheldon for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last nine years, and wish him and his family all the very best.”

Keefe has two years remaining on a contract extension Treliving signed him to in August, which doesn’t officially kick in until the 2024-25 season.

Treliving is scheduled to meet with the media alongside president Brendan Shanahan and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment CEO Keith Pelley on Friday.

Keefe was promoted to Toronto’s head-coaching role in November 2019 to replace the fired Mike Babcock. Keefe had previously been coach of the Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, since 2015 and guided them to a Calder Cup championship in 2018.