Former NHL forward Ryane Clowe has stepped down as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs ECHL affiliate, the Newfoundland Growlers, the organization announced on Thursday.

Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas announced that Clowe is stepping away due to medical reasons. Clowe was the team's first ever head coach and compiled a record of 27-11-2 while behind the bench. The Maple Leafs said the 36-year-old would remain in the organization with a role to be determined. 

“I’d like to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs for the opportunity to become the first head coach in Newfoundland Growlers history,” said Clowe. “As a St. John’s native, I was extremely honoured and proud to have held this position but my health is first priority for both my family and I.”

Clowe has missed time throughout the season for medical reasons. Although the details of the medical leave were never released, he did tell the St. John's Telegram it was related to concussion symptoms he had suffered through the course of his NHL career. 

“I don’t want to get into it much, but yes, the symptoms from (previous concussions) were there. I don’t have a reason for it. It just happens," Clowe said. "It’s probably something I’ll have to deal with my whole life. It’s just how it is. But I still want to do things, and I want to live my life.”

Clowe spent 11 seasons in the NHL where he recorded 112 goals and 197 assists in 491 games.

Assistant coach John Snowden has been installed as the Growlers' new head coach.