Maple Leafs dust Imoo after social-media activity comes to light

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Dusty Imoo’s tenure as goaltending coach of the Toronto Marlies lasted two days after the parent Maple Leafs realized the red light was on about his social-media activity.

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The 51-year-old, whose past positive influence on current No. 1 stopper Jack Campbell was a key reason he was hired on Sunday, was let go on Tuesday amid a growing backlash from people who back-checked his apparent endorsement of hot-button views that appeared to support unfounded U.S. government conspiracy theories and inequality. Imoo had reportedly also been vocal in the anti-vaccine camp, after the farm team Marlies and Leafs stressed getting COVID-19 shots for their team and the public so they could play the past two seasons and eventually have fans back at the rink. .

Many of Imoo’s Twitter “likes” included support for the far-right Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol rioters. But while the club does not challenge political views of employees, it’s another matter when he didn’t get in line with a push for opportunity in sports and human rights. Imoo’s Twitter account is no longer active.

The notice of his firing came right from the top — Leafs president Brendan Shanahan.

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“Dusty Imoo will not be joining the Toronto Marlies. We made a mistake not thoroughly following our organizational protocols when considering this candidate for the position.”

Imoo’s hiring was made on the Marlies’ side, presumably OK’d by new director of minor hockey operations Ryan Hardy, though he just came aboard himself and was probably unaware of the team’s full-vetting policy.

Imoo’s activity was indeed a bad look for the club, who under Shanahan and general manager Kyle Dubas have championed an inclusive environment around the Leafs, with women in prominent player-developement positions, multicultural initiatives and support for gays in hockey and other sports.

Dusty Imoo helped Leafs goalie Jack Campbell regain his form when they were with the L.A. Kings. USA TODAY SPORTS

Imoo, a British Columbia-based former WHL goalie who played club hockey in Japan, was Campbell’s minor-league instructor with the Los Angeles Kings. He was instrumental in helping Campbell recover his poise after the first-round draft pick struggled to live up to his billing. His work with many goalies in the NHL, the minors and in the KHL with Kunlun Red Star earned him much appreciation in the goaltending fraternity.

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