It’s not because of his acquisitions or roster building that put Kyle Dubas amongst the best general managers in the NHL (though those have been examined). It’s because Kyle Dubas cares. Dubas has earned the reputation of a cold, numbers guy. He couldn’t be further from that. Kyle Dubas is a general manager that treats his players extremely well and gets involved in the community he’s a part of. That’s why fans love having him as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toronto Maple Leafs Kyle Dubas is Among the Best General Managers in the NHL
At Brock University in the Sport Management program (a program that Kyle Dubas went through) students are taught about the value of human resources, organizational behaviour, among other things. These classes discuss how creating a positive work environment, valuing diversity and valuing your employees can create a better organization with a better output. This is exactly what Kyle Dubas has been doing.
Caring for his Players
Like previously mentioned, Dubas has earned a “statistical” reputation, but he takes a caring approach to the players on his roster. The first example that springs to mind is when Ilya Mikheyev was injured last season. Dubas not only remained in New Jersey with Mikheyev as he stayed in the hospital but also went out to personally buy him clothes
.@MapleLeafs' GM Kyle Dubas not only spent much of three days keeping Ilya Mikheyev company in hospital, but also bought him clothes and other personal effects.
"Kyle went above and beyond his duty," said Mikheyev's agent.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 1, 2020
Then the most recent example is the John Tavares incident. The moment it happened, people saw Dubas’ reaction. Literally rushing down to the ice, as he begins to call Tavares’ wife to alert them what had happened the second it happened. He was quoted saying “I would never want my own family to be unaware of what was happening. You care about the player deeply and their status, but also you want to be able to provide updates to the family.”
There is no doubt that Dubas tries to treat his players well, with as much compassion as possible. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s what will make players want to come to the Leafs, stay with the Leafs, and work hard for the Leafs.
Activism in the Community
Dubas has been one of the few NHL GMs to even comment on the Black Lives Matter movement. Sitting down and discussing how the Toronto Maple Leafs can be an actor for change is something that far too few NHL teams and general managers have done. Bringing in Wayne Simmonds not only for what he can provide on-ice but also for what he can do for the community.
Dubas agrees part of Simmonds' appeal is his role in the community, BLM and the MLSE's role in fostering that.
— Lance Hornby 🇺🇦 (@sunhornby) October 9, 2020
When Simmonds signed, he cited being involved in community work as a big factor in signing. This is something that Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs backed fully.
Dubas also was very eager to be a part of a commercial to help SickKids raise money for a new hospital. Before the Leafs had even played a game under him, he went out and helped film this commercial so SickKids could raise money.
To help honour and celebrate Ron Hainsey’s 1,000th NHL game, we want to rally all hockey fans to join the fight for a new SickKids. Donate now to join the Blue & Whites crew at https://t.co/R8vhcHcOmr #SickKidsVS #TMLTalk #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/qLTb6FRiCZ
— SickKids Foundation (@sickkids) November 2, 2018
Finally, Dubas has actively participated in showing his support for the LGBTQ+ community, along with Morgan Rielly. Dubas has said that “he feels that the Maple Leafs have a responsibility to be involved in the community” and “support people who have been marginalized”.
Kyle Dubas is at Pride to support the LGBTQ community. pic.twitter.com/YOP0aK5J9h
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) June 23, 2019
The only critique is about hiring practices and is more a critique on the entire league as a whole. The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have the most female staff in their hockey operations in the NHL. That’s a good place to start. The issue arises when they lead the NHL in this category with only 16 percent female hires. This is good enough for four-times the league average, but still a far cry from where it should be. This indicates to me that Dubas is taking the team in the right direction in terms of gender diversity. However, there’s still a ways to go.
It’s because Kyle Dubas is willing to go above and beyond for his player. Because he acts like he truly cares about the players and staff around him. It’s because of his community activism, and willingness to enable others to do the same. While not everyone agrees with his roster management (people rarely agree on anything), the NHL definitely needs more people that behave like Dubas in this regard.
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