Home » Kyle Dubas: 11 Incredible Facts About The GM Of The Toronto Maple Leafs

Kyle Dubas: 11 Incredible Facts About The GM Of The Toronto Maple Leafs

by Your Daily Hunt
Kyle Dubas

In 2015, Forbes magazine named Kyle Dubas one of the rising stars of the industry, as part of its list of the 30 most beautiful prospects under 30 in professional sport. 

The appointment of Kyle Dubas as the youngest general manager of the Maple Leafs rocked the world of hockey. But this is not the first time that the man has found success where it is not expected. Working at the Sault-Sainte-Marie Greyhounds right after his college graduation, he was appointed assistant to hockey operations three years later. After studying sports management, he became the youngest agent ever to be accredited by the NHL Players Association. Then, in 2011, when he was only 25 years old, he became one of the youngest general managers in OHL history when he took charge of the Greyhounds. Here are some more facts about the man who changed history. 

Kyle Dubas: 11 Reasons Why He Was Destined To Be A Young General Manager! 

1. Kyle Dubas could never play hockey after this scary incident:

Kyle Dubas came into this world in Sault-Sainte-Marie, Ontario and was raised there as well. As a child, Dubas played hockey until a concussion forced him to quit playing at the age of 14.

2. Hockey runs in his family:

From a young age he has been immersed in the world of hockey, his grandfather Walter Dubas trained the Sault-Sainte-Marie Greyhounds from 1960 to 1967 then his father was an intern for the Greyhounds. Quite naturally, while Dubas trained at Brock University in Sports Management he took on a recruiting position for the Greyhounds who then played in the Ontario Hockey League.

The future GM’s parents divorced when he was a child, his father was a police officer, and Kyle Dubas‘s mother worked as an ambulance caller and dispatcher. He has four sisters. During his childhood, he spent a lot of time with his grandparents and often talked about hockey and baseball with his grandfather. 

3. Where did he study?

The future GM’s youth was spent in various roles with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Hockey League of Ontario, including an employment term as general manager of the team since he graduated from university. He attended Brock University and obtained a degree in sports management, and began his career acting briefly as a players’ agent. 

At Brock, Dubas worked as a scout for the Hockey League of the Ontario(OHL) of Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In 2015, Dubas was named the first recipient of the Brock’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award, for his achievements after graduation. Brock University attributed the surge in popularity of its sports management program to Dubas’ early success in his career, one professor noting: “We have absolutely seen, anecdotally, so many students who want to be Kyle Dubas when they graduate. ”After graduation, Dubas offered to participate in the Brock University program as an instructor or teaching assistant.

4. His first job was being a Player Agent:

Dubas was the youngest agent ever to be certified by the National Hockey League Players Association. The future GM worked with Uptown Sports Management and represented Kyle Clifford and Andrew Desjardins. Dubas opened offices in Europe; however, the challenges of leaving clients for other agents led Dubas to seek another career in hockey.

5. At just 25, Dubas was hired as general manager of the Sault-Sainte-Marie Greyhounds, here’s why: 

Here, he made a high-profile deal, trading two players and seven draft picks to the Windsor Spitfires to acquire NHL prospect, Jack Campbell. In two years, the Greyhounds managed to place themselves in a leading rank in the League, having the best season in Sault-Sainte-Marie Greyhounds history.

In 2011, he attended the meeting with a detailed plan to improve the team, which had struggled in recent years. 

Initially, the Greyhounds were looking for an experienced candidate for the GM role, but Dubas’ interview was so impressive that he became a unanimous choice of the board. During his tenure with the Greyhounds, this shot became known as “The Rising” after the song of the same name by Bruce Springsteen. 

One factor that helped him was his involvement in organizing the Greyhounds since he was a child, starting as a stick boy and locker room attendant at the age of 11. After assuming the role of general manager, he hired Sheldon Keefe as head coach. The combination of Keefe as a coach and himself as the analyzer resulted in a significant improvement on the ice for the Greyhounds, and during Dubas’ last season as the Greyhounds general manager, they finished second overall in the OHL. 

6. Amazing management style: 

During his time with the Greyhounds in the OHL, Dubas believed the data could provide a way for smaller teams to close the gap with traditional league schedules. Initially, his analysis with the Greyhounds focused on how much time the team spent controlling the puck, which was largely done using a manual review of the video at the time. Dubas particularly focused on using data and analytics to combat bias in decision making. Kyle’s grandfather owned the Greyhounds, which made it easier for him. 

At the 2015 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference, his presentation was titled “How Analysis Limited The Impact of Cognitive Bias on Staff Decisions”. 

In 2019, Dubas received praise from Constable Dan Milstein for his time in New Jersey with Ilya Mikheyev after the latter suffered a severe cut to a skate blade, resulting in emergency surgery to repair a tendon and an artery. The future GM spent three days keeping Mikheyev company in the hospital until he was cleared from the hospital to return back to Toronto.

7. Before he became the general manager of the Maple Leafs, he was hired for 4 years as the assistant GM:

In 2014, the team president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Shanahan, contacted Dubas about the possibility of joining the organization. Their initial meeting lasted nine hours. Dubas was hired by Shanahan as assistant general manager of the Maple Leafs in July 2014. The Maple Leafs organization deflected concerns about his age when he was hired, with general manager Dave Nonis saying: “Age has never been a factor. It’s about whether or not you can get the job done, and it was quickly clear to us that he was going to be good at it.

When offering him the role of assistant general manager for the Leafs in 2014, Shanahan praised Dubas’ “new approach”. By hiring this specialist in advanced statistics, the Leafs were finally following the trend observed in the last few years in the NHL.

He was then 28 years old and specialized in an analytical approach to statistics to manage team performance, an approach considered more modern and progressive and already developed for basketball or baseball. 

In April 2015, after the dismissal of general manager Dave Nonis by the management of the Leafs, Kyle Dubas took over the interim position with Mark Hunter. When Lou Lamoriello was engaged in July 2015, Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas resumed their roles as Associate Managing Director.

Finally on May 11, 2018, following Lou Lamoriello’s retirement at age 75, Kyle Dubas was named General Manager of the Leafs at just 32 years old. Before taking up his post, he won the 2018 Calder Cup with the Marlies. 

8. In 2018, Kyle Dubas becomes the new general manager of the Maple Leafs:

The then 32-year-old, who had never played for a professional team, became the head of one of the most prestigious teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). Kyle Dubas who became the 17th general manager in Toronto Maple Leafs history is living proof that youth and advanced statistics have their place more than ever on the bridges of the Bettman Circuit.

He organized a system that developed players for the Maple Leaf’s team, at the same time being competitive in their own league. 

As the club’s deputy general manager, Dubas has played a role in many aspects of the organization, including people management and analysis, through the team’s research and development group. Dubas and Mark Hunter served as the Maple Leafs’ interim general manager in 2015 after Nonis was sacked by the club. 

After the 2017-18 season, Shanahan decided not to renew (the then GM) Lamoriello’s contract as general manager, sticking to his original plan to have a term of his position before moving to an advisory role. Dubas and his GM co-assistant Mark Hunter were seen as the top candidates for the job. On May 11, 2018, Dubas was named 17th general manager in club history. Shortly after Dubas was appointed CEO, Hunter and Lamoriello both left the organization. 

9. One of Dubas’ first jobs as general manager of the Maple Leafs was the 2018 NHL Draft:

He traded the team’s first-round selection for 25th to the St. Louis Bluesin exchange for their 29th pick and another 76th overall draft pick. The Leafs drafted Swedish defenseman Rasmus Sandin who played in the OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, the former Dubas team. 

During his first term as a free agent, Dubas grabbed the headlines by signing the best unrestricted free agent available, John Tavares, to a seven-year contract.

In his first season as general manager, the Leafs fell to the Boston Bruins in the first round, losing in 7 games. During the season, Dubas and the Leafs engaged in a high-profile contract dispute with restricted free agent forward William Nylander, which lasted 2 months into the season. Nylander and the team eventually agreed to a 6-year contract, minutes before the deadline for the teams to come to terms with the FRG. He also acquired defenseman Jake Muzzin in a trade in February and signed a 5-year contract extension with center star Auston Matthews.

10. Notable moves in the 2019-20 season:

His second season as GM included trading Nazem Kadri to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot, getting rid of contracts from Nikita Zaitsev and Patrick Marleau in separate agreements and the re-signing of Mitch Marner to a 6-year contract after another contractual dispute that lasted all summer and until the first day of training camp. 

He also fired and replaced head coach Mike Babcock after a poor start to the season, with Sheldon Keefe(whom he had previously worked on the Greyhounds team). 

However, in its second season, the team fell in the qualifying round to the Columbus Blue Jackets and failed to advance to the playoffs. Off the ice, Dubas hired Hayley Wickenheiser as deputy director of player development. When hiring recruiters, Dubas introduced a system of blind reviews, where spotting reports by potential recruits were submitted anonymously, in order to remove the bias of the process. 

One of the top scorers on this leg was Noelle Needham, who was hired as an amateur scout to cover the Midwestern region of the United States. Dubas expressed the belief that increasing the diversity of the Maple Leafs’ workforce will lead to improved performance, saying, “Research shows that the more diverse your organization, the better your decision-making and the better your overall operation. If you only hire white men – and I’m saying as a white man – you are probably leaving a lot of good people, in terms of where your organization can go and how it can think, and how it can evolve and develop.

In December 2019, lorsqu’Ilya Mikheyev has suffered a laceration to the wrist and was removed from an away game with the Devils of New Jersey and had to undergo surgery at the University Hospital of Newark, Dubas and the assistant track and field coach Jon Geller cleared their schedules so Mikheyev would have familiar people in the three days between his surgery and his flight back to Toronto. 

11. Dubas received praise for the way he handled allegations that the defender Morgan Rielly allegedly used a homophobic slur during a match:

During the 2018-19 season, Reilly was cleared the next day after an NHL investigation. Speaking at a press conference the next day, Dubas said: “It behooves us in management to create an environment if someone is gay or questions their sexual orientation that they don’t think they are must come here and be someone they are not.” 

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