KEEFE: MY LITTLE BROTHER DOESN’T NEED ME
Growing up in Toronto I wish I had had a brother like Sheldon. However I was blessed with my Uncle Tim Plumb. He played hockey in Belgium, Netherlands then finally for Wembly in London pre World War II as he was trapped in the UK for the war’s duration before returning to Canada.
I will always remember his words of wisdom, “You’ll never make the NHL so go to Europe and enjoy your hockey and life”.
I was then a regular follower of the Leafs thanks to my dad who was senior manager at Esso. They were one of the sponsors of the Toronto Maple Leafs who at that time played out of Maple Leafs Gardens.
When they were playing away I had the opportunity of watching exciting hockey that happened when the Junior ‘A’ or ‘B’ games was played on Sunday afternoon in the Gardens or elsewhere like Barrie, Peterborough, Oshawa or Hamilton to name but a few.
Whilst viewing the NCAA teams battle it out in league encounters in the SSE Arena Belfast brought it all back to me in spades. And interestingly, Adam Keefe’s brother Sheldon comes from the era of Junior ‘A’ & ‘B’ hockey in Canada.
Sheldon was was traded along with Mike Jefferson, Ryan Barns and Shaun Cation to the Barrie Colts during the high days of Junior ‘A’ & ‘B’ hockey with teams operating as farm teams to the NHL clubs as follows. All of the original six NHL teams had involvement in OHA teams until 1967:
OHA Farm Team
Back in the day that was the time to watch and play hockey. As a growing and inspired youth I dreamed of the time I might play professionally somewhere, or better put anywhere.
No doubt the new Giants’ head coach’s brother Sheldon Keefe has done it all icing in both the AHL and the NHL . He says he’s ready to help Adam – but doesn’t think he’ll need to.
Sheldon Keefe is a coach in his own right and has just ended his second season as head coach of the AHL squad the Toronto Marlies. They were beaten in the Calder Cup Division Finals by Syracuse Crunch recently.
Moving on this this
Early years image of the Giants fans favorite AdamKeefe
And the elder sibling admits he has been impressed by the loyalty shown to Keefe, who finally accepted the head coach role after initially knocking it back a few years ago to concentrate on playing.
“Adam was given the chance before and he declined because he was still playing and didn’t think he was ready,” Keefe said.
“The fact he’s been presented with this opportunity again just shows how much he’s valued by the Giants.
Adam Keefe (47) in full flow
They stayed with it, gave him another chance and stayed loyal to him. That speaks a lot about the people that are running the Belfast Giants.
Adam knows and I’ve made it clear to him that I’ll be available whenever he feels he needs something, but it’s important he feels ready for this and he finds his own way.
He has lasting relationships with anyone he’s ever come across in the game and that’s one thing I’ve learned in professional hockey. He’s left an impression and has no shortage of support.
That speaks volumes about his character. I’m here to help him whenever he needs it, but I think he’s prepared and doesn’t need me on speed dial. He has a good head on him”.
Keefe also reckons there is one attribute that can make his brother successful as he makes the adjustment to life behind the bench rather than on the ice.
Sheldon added, “The first thing I think would make him successful is work ethic. With everything that I’ve already described that he had to do, the commitment he’s shown to off ice fitness and training is exceptional.
He plays hard every day and he doesn’t know any other way than going full out so he will give everything to commit to being the best coach possible.
He’s also incredibly honest and sincere, he cares about people and is a very reliable and trustworthy person and his players will trust he’ll do everything he can for the team to succeed,” concluded Sheldon on his brother’s appointment.
Good luck Adam – on a personal note I wish you well.
Written by Wayne Hardman