The 52-year-old native of Manitouwadge, Ont., who was raised in Saskatoon, Sask., is in his 13th season as a bench boss in the NHL and will be tied with Roger Neilson and Dave Tippett who completed their NHL coaching careers with exactly 1,000 contests under their belts. Next in line is Jacques Demers, who sits at the No.22 spot with 1,007 games coached. The NHL's all-time leader is Scotty Bowman, who coached 2,141 regular season contests in 30 years behind the bench.
Babcock was the second-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 500 wins -- trailing only Bowman -- and is one of 22 coaches to have won 500 NHL games. He owns six championship rings and his combined lifetime coaching record, at all levels, stands at 1,138-767-203 (.588) in 2,108 games overall, including playoffs, the AHL, IIHF, WHL, CIAU and CCAA.
He officially began his coaching career in 1988 with Red Deer College of the CCAA, shortly after graduating from McGill University in 1986 with a bachelor of education, where he patrolled the blueline for the Redmen from 1983 to 1986. He also received an honorary doctorate from McGill in 2013.
Babcock captured his first championship ring with the University of Lethbridge at the 1994 CIAU (now known as CIS) University Cup tournament.
In international play, Babcock has represented Canada at several competitions. He became the only coach in hockey history to lead his country to gold in consecutive Olympic appearances after guiding Canada in Vancouver (2010) and Sochi (2014). He led Canada to a gold medal at the 2004 world championships. In 1997, he took part in his first international coaching experience at the IIHF world junior championships as Canada also captured gold. Babcock is the only coach in the so-called 'Triple Gold Club,' an exclusive group of individuals who have captured the three most prestigious championships in hockey (a world championship, an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup).
A thumbnail look at the career of Mike Babcock, who will reach the 1,000 coaching milestone on Thursday (Feb. 4/16):
1986 -- Graduated with a degree in physical education from McGill University, where he played defence and served as captain of the hockey team. He also did some post-graduate work in sports psychology at McGill.
1987-88 -- Served as player-coach of the Whitley Bay Warriors of the British Premier League. He had 34 goals and 132 points in 36 games; the Warriors finished two points out of first place.
1988-91 -- Coached at Red Deer College. His team won the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship in 1989, and he was named ACAC coach of the year.
1991-93 -- Coached the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. His teams went 60-78-6 in two seasons; they lost in the first round of the WHL playoffs in 1992 and didn't qualify in 1993.
1993-94 -- Spent one season coaching the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. He led the team to the CIS University Cup and was the Canada West Universities Athletic Association coach of the year.
1994-2000 -- Coached the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. Babcock was named WHL coach of the year in 1996 and 2000 after leading his team to first place in the Western Division and into the WHL finals.
1997 -- Coached Canada internationally for the first time at the world junior championship in Switzerland. Canada won the gold medal, defeating the United States in the championship game.
2000-02 -- Moved to the pros when he was named coach of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League. Cincinnati, the AHL affiliate of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Detroit Red Wings, had a 74-59-20-7 record under Babcock and qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs in each of his two seasons.
2002-04 -- Was named coach of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on May 22, 2002. Led Anaheim to the best season in franchise history in 2002-03 (40-27-9-6, 95 points); the Mighty Ducks advanced to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final before losing to the New Jersey Devils. However, they did not qualify for the playoffs in 2003-04; this is the only time in his pro career that a Babcock-coached team failed to make the postseason.
2004 -- Coached Canada at the IIHF world championship in Prague. Canada went 7-1-1 and defeated Sweden to win the gold medal. Babcock became the first coach to lead Canada to the title at the world juniors and the world championship.
2005 -- Named coach of the Detroit Red Wings on July 15, 2005.
2008 -- Led the Red Wings to the 11th Stanley Cup in franchise history and the fourth since 1997. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the final.
2009 -- Coached the Red Wings to the Western Conference championship and a second straight berth in the Stanley Cup final, where they were defeated by the Penguins in seven games.
2010 -- Led Canada to the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics, capped by a 3-2 overtime victory against the United States in the championship game. Babcock became the only coach to join the "Triple Gold Club"; members have won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a world championship.
2014 -- Coached Canada to the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics. His team allowed three goals while going 6-0 and defeating Sweden in the championship game.2015 -- Led the Red Wings to their 24th consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and their 10th in his 10 seasons with Detroit. The Red Wings lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference first round.
2015 -- Announced as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 20, 2015. Babcock becomes the 30th head coach in Maple Leafs history, agreeing on an eight-year deal worth a reported $50 million.
TOP 50 NHL COACHES RANKING BY GAMES COACHED (courtesy hockey-reference.com)
|RK||COACH||FROM||TO||YRS||GP ?||W||L||T||OL||PTS||PTS%||G||W||L||T||W-L%||CHAMP||ST CUP|
MIKE BABCOCK'S CAREER COACHING RECORD (compliled by Earl Zukerman, Sports Information Officer, McGill University)
|(updated on Feb. 3, 2016)|
|OVERALL CAREER TOTALS:||1847||982||662||203||0.587||261||156||105||0.598|
|NHL REG. SEASON CAREER TOTAL:||999||545||321||133||0.612||143||85||58||0.594|
|ALL GAMES (Reg. Season + Playoffs):||2108||1138||767||203||0.588|
|NOTE: Games played at the IIHF and Olympic levels are broken into two separate colums, one for the preliminary round and one for the playoff round.|
[read original article by Earl Zukerman, McGill Athletics, Feb 3, 2016]
[read "Mike Babcock celebrates 1,000th game in Leafs' win over Devils, Neil Davidson, CBC Sports, Feb 5, 2016]