Mike Babcock (BEd (PE)'86)

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Babcock's lucky McGill tie worked for Team Canada

By Stu Cowan, Montreal Gazette
Published on: February 25, 2014
(Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

I was surprised when Team Canada coach Mike Babcock didn’t wear his lucky McGill tie for the semifinal game against the United States at the Sochi Olympics.

Turned out he didn’t need it as Canada beat the U.S. 1-0. But Babcock was wearing a special-edition black McGill tie with white stripes for the gold-medal game when Canada beat Sweden 3-0. It was the same tie Babcock wore when he received an honourary law doctorate from McGill in 2013. Earl Zukerman, McGill’s hard-working communications officer for Athletics & Recreation, reports that Babcock’s lifetime record was 8-3 while wearing a McGill tie behind the bench after the gold-medal game.

Babcock is a former co-captain of the McGill Redmen and was a two-time all-star during his university career from 1983-87. He shared team MVP honours in 1986-87 and graduated with a degree in education. Babcock visited with the McGill men’s and women’s hockey teams the night before his Detroit Red Wings played the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in their first post-Olympic game on Feb. 26 and then had dinner with friends from the university. And he wore a red McGill tie for the game against the Canadiens, which the Red Wings won 2-1 in overtime.

Zukerman reports that one of the Redmen players asked Babcock the night before the Habs game to compare winning the Stanley Cup to winning an Olympic gold medal.
“When you have both you don’t have to compare,” said Babcock, who has won one Stanley Cup and two Olympic gold medals as a coach. “When you win the Stanley Cup, your name is on it for the rest of your life… but an Olympic gold medal is absolutely spectatular. So you want to win both and win them multiple times. I want to win that Cup again. The one you don’t have, I suppose, is the one you want the most.”

He also had one final piece of advice for the Redmen players. “The way I look at university hockey is that you think you’re here for a long time and before you know it, your four or five years are over. I believe that you should live your life with your foot on the gas. You have to maximize every single day of your life because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. This might be the best group you every get to play with, so why wouldn’t you maximize your opportunity. It’s about seizing the moment, right here, right now. It’s about being the best you can possibly be.”

Read this article as it appears on the Montreal Gazette website. Read a previous blog post about Babcock’s speech to McGill students at last fall’s convocation ceremonies by clicking here


Mike Babcock Stanely Cup

Alumnus Mike Babcock's 2008 Stanley Cup victory

Mike Babcock, BEd(PE)'86, as featured on page ten of the Faculty of Education's In Focus: Summer 2008 Alumni newsletter, pictured below with the Stanley Cup after the Detroit Red Wings' 2008 NHL victory.

  


Wings coach renews old McGill acquaintances

by Bill Beacon
December 4, 2007, The Canadian Press

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.