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Mike Babcock (BEd (PE)'86)

Wings coach renews old McGill acquaintances


Mike Babcock, BEd (PE)'86, took advantage of a rare visit to Montreal to reunite with some friends from his days as a star defenceman with the McGill University Redmen. The Detroit Red Wings coach played at McGill from 1983 to '87 while earning a degree in physical education and a graduate degree in sports psychology.

But with the NHL's Eastern and Western Conferences kept apart by an unbalanced schedule - at least until next season - the 44-year-old coach rarely gets a chance to visit his alma mater. In fact, in six years as an NHL coach, Babcock's Western Conference teams have only been to Montreal twice. So after the Red Wings landed and practised Monday afternoon, he headed straight for the downtown campus.

"I went to the McGill bookstore and got three McGill sweatshirts for my kids because I'm tired of them wearing the University of Saskatchewan stuff my wife gets them," Babcock said.

"Then I went to McConnell (Arena) and dropped off my (donation) cheque. You have to make sure you do that."

The former Redmen captain said he can't quantify how much playing at McGill or the education he received there contributed to his success as a coach.

December 4, 2007