Mike Babcock

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Mike Babcock
Mike Babcock in 2013.jpg
Mike Babcock at a press conference in 2013
Born(1963-04-29) April 29, 1963 (age 51)
Manitouwadge, Ontario, Canada
Current teamDetroit Red Wings
Previous team(s)Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Whitley Warriors
Stanley Cup wins2008
Years as a coach1991–present
Years as an NHL coach2002–present
Years with current team2005–present
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Mike Babcock
Mike Babcock in 2013.jpg
Mike Babcock at a press conference in 2013
Born(1963-04-29) April 29, 1963 (age 51)
Manitouwadge, Ontario, Canada
Current teamDetroit Red Wings
Previous team(s)Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Whitley Warriors
Stanley Cup wins2008
Years as a coach1991–present
Years as an NHL coach2002–present
Years with current team2005–present

Michael "Mike" Babcock, Jr. (born April 29, 1963) is a Canadian professional ice hockey head coach of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL). Taking over as coach of the Red Wings in 2005, Babcock is currently the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL. Babcock was born in Manitouwadge, Ontario in 1963.[1][2][3] As of February 2015, he is the only coach to gain entry to the Triple Gold Club, guiding his Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2008, as well as leading Team Canada to gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in 2004. Babcock is the only coach to win five national or international titles, guiding Canada to gold at the IIHF World Junior Championships in 1997 and the University of Lethbridge to the CIS University Cup in 1994. Babcock also led Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, successfully defending their gold medal.

Playing and coaching career[edit]

Before his playing days at McGill University (where he was captain), Babcock played for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL in 1980–81 and spent a season with the Kelowna Wings in 1982–83. In between, he played a year under Dave King at the University of Saskatchewan and transferred to McGill in 1983 under coach Ken Tyler. In September 1985 Babcock also had a brief try-out with the Vancouver Canucks.

Babcock graduated from McGill in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and also did some post-graduate work in sports psychology. At McGill, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. In 146 career games with the Redmen, he tallied 22 goals and 85 assists for a total of 107 points and 301 penalty minutes, graduating as the second-highest scoring defenseman in McGill history. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1987 as a player-coach for Whitley Warriors, who missed out on the league title by two points. In 49 games, he contributed 45 goals and 127 assists, accumulating 123 penalty minutes.

Coaching career[edit]

Babcock is one of four McGill University players to coach an NHL team (Lester Patrick guided the New York Rangers; George Burnett served in Edmonton; and Guy Boucher served in Tampa Bay). In 2008, Babcock became the second McGill hockey player to coach a Stanley Cup winner, the other being Lester Patrick. He was a two-time all-star rearguard at McGill from 1983–84 to 1986–87, where he also won the Bobby Bell trophy as team MVP. He has had a distinguished coaching career and entered the 2011–12 season with a lifetime 798–540–148 regular season coaching record in 18 seasons overall, including a 373–188–95 NHL mark in eight seasons (two with Anaheim and six with Detroit). He also guided Team Canada to gold medals at the 1997 world junior championships in Geneva, the 2004 IIHF world hockey championships in Prague, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In addition, he guided the University of Lethbridge to a CIS national title in 1994.

Detroit marks the seventh coaching stint for the nomadic Babcock, a native of Ontario who has lived in six Canadian provinces (Saskatchewan, Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba) and four US states (Washington, Ohio, California and his current residence, Michigan).

In 1988, Babcock was appointed head coach at Red Deer College in Alberta. He spent three seasons at the school, winning the provincial collegiate championship and earning coach-of-the-year honours in 1989.

Babcock moved to the Western Hockey League in 1991 where he guided the Moose Jaw Warriors for a two-year term. He then served one season as bench boss of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, earning Canada West coach-of-the-year honours in 1993–94 after guiding Lethbridge to their first-ever appearance in post-season play and an entirely unexpected Canadian university national title with a 34–11–3 over-all mark.

In 1994, he was appointed coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, where he posted a regular-season record of 224–172–29 over six seasons for a .564 winning percentage. He was named twice as the West Division coach of the year (1995–1996 and 1999–2000).

From 2000–01 to 2001–02, Babcock guided the American Hockey League's Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, to a 74–59–20–7 record, including a franchise-high 41 wins and 95 points. The team qualified for the playoffs both years.


Mike Babcock coaching a playoff game

Babcock was named head coach of the NHL's Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now Anaheim Ducks) on May 22, 2002, and through two seasons, guided them to a combined 69–62–19 regular season record (including 14 overtime losses). In the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Ducks, he posted a 15–6 record, leading the Ducks to the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals where they lost in 7 games to the New Jersey Devils.

Following the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Babcock declined an offer to remain with the Ducks, and on July 15, 2005, was named head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. In his first three seasons, Babcock led the Red Wings to a combined 162–56–28 regular season record and a 28–18 playoff record. Babcock and the Red Wings were eliminated by his former club, the Anaheim Ducks, in the Western Conference Finals of the 2006–07 playoffs.

In the 2007–08 NHL season, while coaching the Detroit Red Wings, Babcock achieved his 200th NHL career win. This was on December 15 against the Florida Panthers, with a 5–2 final score. Heading into the All-Star game, as the top team in the league, Detroit's Babcock was selected to coach the Western Conference in the All-Star game. On June 4, 2008, Babcock led the Detroit Red Wings to another Stanley Cup championship by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Babcock was announced as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the 2007–08 season, awarded to the coach who best contributes to his team's success but finished third behind Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens.[4]

In June 2008, Babcock signed a three-year contract extension with the Red Wings. In the Red Wings 2008–09 season, the Red Wings again made the Stanley Cup Final but lost in 7 games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the loss in Game 7, Babcock became the first head coach to lose a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 with two different teams,[5] an unfortunate fate that Keenan avoided, though he was with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987, as he was with the New York Rangers in 1994.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs of 2011, Babcock's Red Wings fell behind the San Jose Sharks 3 games to none in the second round, but won three straight to force a game seven, which the Wings lost 3–2.

Thus far into his coaching career he has accumulated a playoff record of 63–39. In October 2010, Babcock signed a further four-year extension with the Red Wings that will see him through to the end of the 2014–15 NHL season.[6] Babcock is currently the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL.[7]

On April 8, 2014, Babcock earned his 414th career win as head coach of the Red Wings, to surpass Jack Adams as the winningest coach in Red Wings history.[8] Babcock was announced as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the 2013–14 NHL season, his second nomination, however he finished in second behind Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche.[9] On December 6, 2014, Babcock earned his 500th career win as a head coach, becoming the second-fastest coach in league history to do so. Only Hall of Famer, and former Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman reached the 500 win plateau faster.[10]


On June 24, 2009, Babcock was announced as the head coach of Canada's men's national ice hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[11] The team finished the round robin with a regulation win over Norway, a shootout win over Switzerland, and a loss to the United States. In the elimination rounds they defeated Germany, Russia, and then Slovakia to advance to the gold medal game where they defeated the United States 3–2 in single overtime.[12]

With the win Babcock became the first coach (and only thus far) in the International Ice Hockey Federation's Triple Gold Club.[13][14] In addition to the Olympic gold, Babcock earned a World Championship title coaching Canada in 2004 and a Stanley Cup championship coaching the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.[13][14]

To honour Babcock's entrance into the Triple Gold Club, the City of Saskatoon announced that July 17, 2010, will be known as "Mike Babcock Day."[15]

On July 22, 2013, Babcock was announced as the head coach of Canada's men's national ice hockey team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[16] The team finished the round robin with regulation wins over Norway, and Austria, and an overtime win over Finland. In the quarterfinals they defeated Latvia, and in the semifinals they defeated the United States to advance to the gold medal game, where they defeated Sweden 3–0.[17] With the win, Babcock became the only head coach to lead one country to a gold medal victory in consecutive Olympic appearances.[18]


Mike and Maureen Babcock have three children: Alexandra, Michael III and Taylor.[19][20][21] Although he was born in Manitouwadge, Ontario, he grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is often incorrectly listed as his birthplace. He spent the majority of his childhood moving around between Northern Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, before his family settled in Saskatoon, which he considers his hometown. Babcock's family didn't establish their roots in the city until 1975. Babcock attended both St. James Elementary School (since closed) and Holy Cross High School on Saskatoon's east side. Babcock is also one of the many notable graduates on Holy Cross High School's "Wall of Honour."

Coaching career statistics[edit]

Major Junior[edit]

1991–92Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL333636th EastLost East Division quarter-final
1992–93Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL274238th EastOut of playoffs
1994–95Spokane ChiefsWHL323645th WestLost West Division semi-final
1995–96Spokane ChiefsWHL501841st WestLost WHL finals
1996–97Spokane ChiefsWHL353343rd WestLost West Division semi-final
1997–98Spokane ChiefsWHL452342nd WestLost West Division final
1998–99Spokane ChiefsWHL194497th WestOut of playoffs
1999–2000Spokane ChiefsWHL471961st WestLost WHL finals

Minor Pro[edit]

2000–01Cincinnati Mighty DucksAHL4126132nd SouthLost in first round
2001–02Cincinnati Mighty DucksAHL3333143rd CentralLost in preliminary round

National Hockey League[edit]

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GamesWonLostTiedOTLPointsFinishWonLostWin %Result
ANA2002–0382402796952nd in Pacific155.750Lost to New Jersey Devils in Stanley Cup Finals
ANA2003–04822935108764th in Pacific---
ANA Total16469621914.521155.750
DET2005–06825816-81241st in Central24.333Lost to Edmonton Oilers in Conference Quarterfinals
DET2006–07825019-131131st in Central108.556Lost to Anaheim Ducks in Conference Finals
DET2007–08825421-71151st in Central166.727Stanley Cup Champions
DET2008–09825121-101121st in Central1510.600Lost to Pittsburgh Penguins in Stanley Cup Finals
DET2009–10824424-141022nd in Central57.417Lost to San Jose Sharks in Conference Semifinals
DET2010–11824725-101041st in Central74.636Lost to San Jose Sharks in Conference Semifinals
DET2011–12824828-61023rd in Central14.200Lost to Nashville Predators in Conference Quarterfinals
DET2012–13482416-8563rd in Central77.500Lost to Chicago Blackhawks in Conference Semifinals
DET2013–14823928-15934th in Atlantic14.200Lost to Boston Bruins in Conference Quarterfinals
DET Total704415198-91.6546454.542


  1. ^ http://www.athletics.mcgill.ca/varsity_sports_player_profile.ch2?athlete_id=1413
  2. ^ http://www.universitysport.ca/e/story_detail.cfm?id=11929
  3. ^ http://media.www.mcgilltribune.com/media/storage/paper234/news/2008/09/30/Sports/Exclusive.Interview.Mike.Babcock.A.Former.Redman.Earns.His.redwings-3459185.shtml
  4. ^ "BOUDREAU WINS JACK ADAMS AWARD AS TOP COACH". TSN.ca. June 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  5. ^ Podell, Ira (June 13, 2009). "Penguin power: Pittsburgh motors away from Detroit with the silver Cup". Salt Lake Deseret News. Associated Press. p. D1. The Penguins...beat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1...in Game 7 and win the Stanley Cup for the third time...In 2003...the last series in which the home team won all seven games...the Mighty Ducks team that lost then was coached by current Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock. 
  6. ^ Babcock receives four-year extension NHL.com, October 11, 2010
  7. ^ Babcock is longest tenured coach in NHL after Preds let Trotz go WXYZ.com, April 14, 2014
  8. ^ Babcock establishes new coaching mark NHL.com, April 9, 2014
  9. ^ Avalanche's Roy Wins Jack Adams Award NHL.com, June 24, 2014
  10. ^ Detroit Red Wings' Mike Babcock happy to be second-fastest coach to reach 500 wins MLive.com, December 6, 2014
  11. ^ "Babcock named Canada’s Olympic team bench boss". National Post. June 25, 2009. 
  12. ^ Elliott, Helene (March 1, 2010). "Canada defeats U.S., 3-2, to win gold medal in men's hockey". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  13. ^ a b "Hockey's exclusive company". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Merk, Martin (February 28, 2010). "Triple gold for Eric Staal". IIHF.com. 
  15. ^ "Mike Babcock Day announcement". 
  16. ^ Mike Babcock named head coach of Canada's National Men's Team for 2013-14 season HockeyCanada.com, July 22, 2013
  17. ^ "Mike Babcock-Led Team Canada Wins Second Consecutive Gold Medal". 
  18. ^ Canada wins second straight gold medal NHL.com, February 23, 2014
  19. ^ "Mike Babcock - Head Coach". Detroit Red Wings. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  20. ^ Wolfe, Cory (2008-06-05). "Dream Come True". The Star Phoenix. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  21. ^ Niyo, John (2008-06-06). "Babcock sticks to winning blueprint". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2008-07-03.