A former Spokane Chiefs head coach will soon be given Canada’s highest hockey honor.
Former Spokane Chiefs head coach Mike Babcock was announced as one of the three 2018 Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada – an Hockey Canada initiative that began in 2012 to celebrate individuals for their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport of hockey in Canada.
Longtime Edmonton Oilers star and former Moose Jaw Warrior Ryan Smyth, as well as University of Calgary Dinos head coach and Olympic goal medalist Danielle Goyette were the other two honorees named.
Babcock’s lengthy hockey career has included several WHL clubs, including the Saskatoon Blades and Kelowna Wings with whom he played 98 WHL regular season games, recording 59 points (22G-37A).
His time in the WHL also helped kickstart a legendary coaching career. Babcock served as the bench boss for the Moose Jaw Warriors and Spokane Chiefs between the 1991-92 and 1999-00 seasons. His 284 wins as a head coach rank 29th among all WHL coaches and 2nd in Chief’s franchise history. He owns the Chiefs’ 3rd-best career win% (.525), most playoff games (74), most playoff wins (40) and most playoff series wins (8). He ranks 2nd in career games coaches with the Chiefs at 425 (1994-2000).
During the 1996-97 season, his third with the Chiefs, Babcock coached Canada to a victory at the 1997 IIHF World Junior Championship. He has gone on to coach Canada at several major international competitions, winning gold at the 2004 IIHF World Championship, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games and recently guided Canada to a victory at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Babcock won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in the 2007-08 season and now serves as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. His 620 NHL victories rank 14th all-time.