Greg Moore gives instructions to his team earlier this season with the Chicago Steel. The Lisbon native and former University of Maine star has been hired as the head coach of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies. Credit: Courtesy of Chicago Steel

A new chapter in the impressive career of Greg Moore begins Saturday night.

It will be the first night behind the bench as the head coach of the Toronto Marlies for the Lisbon native, who is a former Hobey Baker Award finalist at the University of Maine.

The Marlies, the American Hockey League affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, play the Belleville Senators.

Moore was coaching the Chicago Steel of the United States Junior Hockey League when the Marlies came calling after losing their coach, Sheldon Keefe, to the Maple Leafs.

Toronto promoted Keefe firing Mike Babcock on Nov. 20.

Moore was hired Dec. 1 and spent the past two weeks being indoctrinated with the Maple Leafs.

Credit: Courtesy of Chicago Steel

“I am enjoying it so far,” the 35-year-old Moore said. “It was good to get to know Sheldon and his staff and see how things are done in the organization.

“They’re really good people. I was impressed with how they do things there. I was able to get my bearings before joining the Marlies.”

Moore’s head coaching resume is not long, but it is notable. Last season, the first-year coach guided the Steel to a 52-25-5 record and a berth in the Clark Cup finals. Chicago was a league-leading 15-4-1 this season before he joined the Marlies.

“The Marlies are getting a world-class coach with a brilliant hockey mind and impeccable character,” Steel General Managery Ryan Hardy said in a story on the Steel website. “What he and his staff built here has, and will continue to have, a ripple effect on player development across the global hockey landscape.”

Moore joined the Steel after three seasons as an assistant with the United States National Team Development Program, where he coached the Under-18 and Under-17 teams.

He retired as a player in 2015 after playing 10 pro seasons. The last four were in the top German league. That followed a 377-game AHL career for Moore, who played in 10 NHL games with the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I want to win hockey games but my primary focus is on developing them as hockey players,” he said of his new job. “If you develop players the right way, the results will take care of themselves.”

Moore played two years at Saint Dominic High School in Lewiston before moving on to the U.S. National Team Development Program. It was there he discovered that he wanted to become a coach.

“I played for Mike Eaves, and I distinctly remember being impressed with him as a coach,” Moore said.

Moore ranks 48th on UMaine’s career scoring list with 107 points (66 goals, 41 assists) in 154 games. He is third among Maine natives behind Bowdoinham’s Mike McHugh (152) and his former Black Bears teammate Derek Damon (111) of Bangor.

“It was four very good years at Maine. I’m very grateful to them,” said Moore, who played in two Frozen Fours and one national championship game (2004) under coach Tim Whitehead.

The former UMaine captain notched 28 goals and 17 assists in 42 games his senior year (2005-06) to earn Hockey East first team honors and Hobey Baker finalist status.

Moore said coaching at the pro level will be a new challenge.

“There will definitely be a different approach to coaching at this level compared to Juniors. These guys are professionals. There are a lot more games and less practice time to work on things,” he said.

Moore’s focus will be to continue to learn and improve as a coach with an eye on coaching in the NHL.

“If there is an opportunity, I keep my ears open and see where it takes me,” he said. “I’m a competitive person, so I would naturally like to move up to the highest level.”

“Greg’s record in development and winning with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and the USHL’s Chicago Steel to begin his coaching career made us take great notice of him as a candidate,” Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas said.

“More importantly, it became clear in speaking with his employers at USA Hockey and the Chicago Steel that Greg was the best fit for our program in terms of development philosophy,” Dubas added.