In spite of the fact that he was at one time considered among the very best coaches that the National Hockey League had to offer, Mike Babcock's name has all but disappeared from the headlines since his rather ugly split with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Babcock's name was dragged through the mud on his way out of Toronto and there was no shortage of dog piling on the former Leafs bench boss when it came to talk of his coaching style and his treatment of the players that play, or had played, under him.
Perhaps due in large part to the damage that his reputation suffered, or perhaps due in part to the huge contract that the Maple Leafs are still paying him to sit on the sidelines, Babcock's name has barely mentioned at all when coaching vacancies have opened up in the NHL. Babcock's reputation as a head coach however was not only built in the NHL and now there is talk that the controversial head coach may soon get another job in an area where he has arguably been even more successful than the NHL, international hockey.
In a recent article for the Toronto Sun, Toronto journalist Steve Simmons revealed that Babcock is being linked to the head coaching position for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. From Simmons:
The thought here is that Doug Armstrong of St. Louis will named general manager and there is some support (not necessarily in Toronto) to have Mike Babcock back coaching the team...
Preparation for the Olympics traditionally begins two years out from the event, and with names like Ken Holland also being linked to the project it is not hard to see why Babcock would be given serious consideration. Add to that the fact that Babcock has a World Cup of Hockey title under his belt, a pair of Gold Medals from the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games on his mantle, and has also captured Gold Medals at IIHF sanctioned events including the World Juniors and World Championship. He is the only coach to have achieved this level of success in international hockey while also managing to capture a Stanley Cup at the NHL level, so you're going to be hard pressed to find a guy with a resume that even comes close, even in a hockey crazed country like Canada.
I do wonder though, given how his relationships with some of the players on the Maple Leafs had reportedly fractured, how those players may feel about once again being coached by Babcock, even if it is only at an international tournament.
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