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Kyle Dubas

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Kyle Dubas
Kyle Dubas (42307434024).jpg
Dubas in 2018
Born (1985-11-29) November 29, 1985 (age 33)
NationalityCanadian
Alma materBrock University
OccupationIce hockey executive
Years active2011–present
EmployerSoo Greyhounds (2011–2014)
MLSE (2014–present)
OrganizationToronto Maple Leafs
TitleGeneral manager
TermMay 11, 2018–present
PredecessorLou Lamoriello

Kyle Dubas (born November 29, 1985) is a Canadian ice hockey executive who is currently the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). Dubas spent his youth in various roles with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, including a term as the team's general manager after graduating from university. He attended Brock University and graduated with a degree in Sports Management, and started his career by briefly acting as a player agent. Dubas joined the Maple Leafs organization as an assistant general manager in 2014, and played a key role in developing the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL). In 2018, the Marlies captured the Calder Cup as AHL Champions. At the time of his hire, Dubas was the second youngest general manager in NHL history, behind John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes.

Early life and education[edit]

Dubas was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.[1] As a child Dubas played hockey, until concussions caused him to stop playing at 14.[2] His father was an intern with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and his grandfather, Walter Dubas, had coached the team from 1960 to 1967.[2] Dubas attended Brock University, graduating in Sport Management (BSM).[3] While at Brock, Dubas worked as a scout for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)'s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.[1] In 2015, Dubas was named the first recipient of Brock's Outstanding Young Alumni Award, for his accomplishments after graduation.[3] Brock University has credited Dubas's success early in his career with sharp increases in the popularity of their Sports Management program, with one professor noting, "We absolutely have seen, anecdotally, so many students who want to be Kyle Dubas when they graduate."[4] After graduation, Dubas offered to assist with Brock University's program as either an instructor or teaching assistant.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Player agent[edit]

Dubas was the youngest agent ever certified by the National Hockey League Players Association. He worked with Uptown Sports Management and represented Kyle Clifford and Andrew Desjardins.[5] Dubas set up offices in Europe, however challenges with clients leaving for other agents resulted in Dubas looking for alternate careers in hockey.[6]

Team executive[edit]

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds[edit]

Dubas was hired as the general manager (GM) of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2011. He attended his interview with a detailed plan to improve the team, which had struggled in recent years. The Greyhounds initially were looking for an experienced candidate for the GM position, but Dubas's interview was so impressive, that he was the board's unanimous choice.[2] During his tenure with the Greyhounds, this plan became known as "The Rising" after the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name.[4] Dubas had been involved with the Greyhounds organization since he was a child, starting out as a stick boy and dressing room attendant when he was 11.[4] After assuming the GM role, he hired Sheldon Keefe as head coach.[7] The combination of Keefe and Dubas resulted in significant on ice improvement for the Greyhounds, and during Dubas's last season as GM of the Greyhounds, they finished second overall in the OHL.[4]

Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment[edit]

In 2014, Toronto Maple Leafs team president Brendan Shanahan reached out to Dubas about the possibility of joining the organization.[4] Their initial meeting lasted nine hours. Dubas was hired by Shanahan as an assistant general manager for the Maple Leafs in July 2014.[7] The Maple Leafs organization deflected concerns about his age at the time he was hired, with general manager Dave Nonis saying "...Age was never a factor. It’s whether or not you can do the job, and it was clear to us quickly that he’s going to be good at it."[1] In January 2015, Forbes named Dubas amongst its 30 Under 30 brightest young stars in the sport industry.[8] As an assistant GM for the club, Dubas played parts in many aspects of the organization, including personnel management and analytics, through the team's research and development group.[7] Dubas and Mark Hunter filled the role of interim general manager for the Maple Leafs in 2015, after Nonis was fired by the club.[9]

Dubas after the Toronto Marlies won the 2018 Calder Cup Final

After Shanahan hired Lou Lamoriello to serve as the team's general manager, Dubas and Hunter both took roles as assistant GM.[10] During his time as assistant GM for the Maple Leafs, Dubas also served as general manager of the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate team. He was instrumental in organizing a system that developed players for the Maple Leafs team, while also being competitive in their own league.[4] Dubas hired former Greyhounds head coach Keefe to oversee the Marlies development. In 2018, the Marlies captured the Calder Cup as the AHL champions.[11]

After the 2017–18 season, Shanahan decided not to renew Lamoriello's contract as GM, sticking to his original plan to have a fixed term on his time in the position before he transitioned into an advisory role. Dubas and his co-assistant GM Mark Hunter were considered top candidates for the position.[10] On May 11, 2018, Dubas was named as the 17th general manager in the club's history.[12] Shortly after Dubas was named GM, both Hunter and Lamoriello left the organization.[13] One of Dubas's first tasks as GM of the Maple Leafs was the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He traded the team's first round selection at 25th overall to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for their pick at 29th overall and an additional draft pick at 76th overall. The Leafs drafted Swedish defenceman Rasmus Sandin who played in the OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Dubas's former team.[14] During his first free agency period, Dubas made headlines by signing the top unrestricted free agent available, John Tavares to a seven-year contract.[15]

Off the ice, Dubas hired Hayley Wickenheiser to serve as assistant director of player development.[16] When hiring scouts, Dubas introduced a system of blinded reviews, where scouting reports by potential hires were submitted anonymously, to remove bias from the process. One of the highest scorers during this stage was Noelle Needham, who was hired as an amateur scout to cover the Midwest region of the United States.[17] Dubas has expressed a belief that increasing the diversity of the Maple Leafs staff will result in improved performance, saying "Research shows the more diverse your organization, the better your decision-making and the better your operation in general. If you’re only hiring white males – and I’m saying that as a white male – you’re 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."[17] During the 2018–19 season, Dubas received praise for the way he handled allegations that defenceman Morgan Rielly used a homophobic slur during a game. Rielly was cleared the following day after an investigation by the NHL. At a press conference, the following day, Dubas said "It’s incumbent on us in management to build an environment if someone were gay, or were questioning their sexual orientation, that they don’t feel that they have to come in here and be somebody that they’re not."[18]

Management style[edit]

During his time with the Greyhounds in the OHL, Dubas believed that data could provide a way for smaller teams to close the gap with the league's traditional powerhouse programs.[4] Initially his analytics with the Greyhounds focused on how much time the team spent controlling the puck, which was largely done using manual review of video at the time.[4] Dubas has been particularly focused on using data and analytics to combat bias in decision making. At the 2015 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, his presentation was entitled "How Analytics has Limited the Impact of Cognitive Bias on Personnel Decisions."[19]

Personal life[edit]

Dubas's parents divorced when he was a child, his father was a police officer and his mother worked as an ambulance dispatcher. He has two sisters.[4] During his childhood, he spent significant amounts of time with his grandparents growing up, and would often talk about hockey and baseball with his grandfather.[2] Dubas is married and has a son.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Burns, Mark J. (September 25, 2014). "Assistant GM Kyle Dubas Injects Youth, Smarts Into Maple Leafs Front Office". Forbes. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Yourk, Darren (October 13, 2011). "From the archives: Rookie GM on hot seat in hockey-mad Soo". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Mayer, Tiffany (April 6, 2015). "Oustanding [sic] Young Alum Kyle Dubas inspires graduating class at send-off". Brock University. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Siegel, Jonas (May 25, 2018). "Built in the Soo: The Kyle Dubas story". The Athletic. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Simmons, Jeff (July 22, 2014). "Who is this guy? The 411 on Kyle Dubas". Sportsnet. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  6. ^ "Leafs Assistant GA at 28, Kyle Dubas Has Been On Fast Track Through Hockey". The Hockey News. July 24, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Maple Leafs name Kyle Dubas, 32, general manager". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 11, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Smith, Chris (January 5, 2015). "30 Under 30: The Sports World's Brightest Young Stars". Forbes. Forbes Media, LLC. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Coccimiglio, Brad (April 12, 2015). "Sault's Dubas named Maple Leafs interim general manager". Soo Today. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Blackburn, Pete (April 30, 2018). "Maple Leafs announce Lou Lamoriello will not return as general manager". CBS Sports. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  11. ^ Clipperton, Joshua (June 16, 2018). "Leafs GM Kyle Dubas revels in Marlies' Calder Cup win". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  12. ^ "Kyle Dubas Named Leafs General Manager". National Hockey League. May 11, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Wyshinski, Greg (May 22, 2018). "Brendan Shanahan defends Kyle Dubas after Mark Hunter, Lou Lamoriello leave Maple Leafs". ESPN. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Augello, Michael (June 23, 2018). "NHL Draft 2018: Dubas, Maple Leafs 'happy' with Sandin selection". Sporting News. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  15. ^ Harrison, Doug (July 1, 2018). "John Tavares joins hometown Maple Leafs on 7-year deal". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  16. ^ "Wickenheiser hired by Maple Leafs in player development role". National Hockey League. August 23, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Schram, Carol (August 28, 2018). "Toronto Maple Leafs Kick Open The Door By Hiring Women's Hockey Great Hayley Wickenheiser". Forbes. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  18. ^ Johnston, Chris (March 12, 2019). "Rielly, Dubas leave no doubt about Leafs' stance on LGBTQ rights". Sportsnet. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  19. ^ Masisak, Corey (February 28, 2018). "Dubas explains value of hockey analytics at Sloan". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  20. ^ "Toronto Maple Leafs 2018–19 Media Guide" (PDF) (pdf). Toronto Maple Leafs. p. 13. Retrieved March 26, 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Kyle Dubas at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Lou Lamoriello
General manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs
2018–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent