CALGARY – Hockey Canada, along with Canada’s National Men’s Team management group, has announced that Mike Babcock (Detroit) will be head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team. Hockey Canada also announced three associate coaches: Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis), Claude Julien (Boston) and Lindy Ruff (Dallas).
Hockey Canada will nominate this coaching staff to the Canadian Olympic Team for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games this fall.
The coaching staff was named by Canada’s National Men’s Team management group, comprised of executive director Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay), along with Doug Armstrong (St. Louis), Ken Holland (Detroit), Kevin Lowe (Edmonton), Bob Nicholson (Hockey Canada) and Brad Pascall (Hockey Canada).
Babcock, Hitchcock and Ruff were all members of the Canadian men’s hockey coaching staff at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver where Canada won its eighth Olympic gold medal.
The 2014 Olympic Winter Games run from Feb. 6-23, with the men’s ice hockey tournament going from Feb. 12-23.
“Canada’s coaching staff has a great deal of international and professional experience for the challenge that awaits us in Sochi,” said Yzerman. “Mike did a great job setting the foundation for our gold medal win in Vancouver, and I know that with Ken, Claude and Lindy working with him, our team will be very well prepared.”
“I am extremely proud to represent my country and coach Team Canada,” said Babcock. “To have had the opportunity to share the Olympics with family, friends and all Canadians in Vancouver was something very special. To win gold in Canada was a dream come true. In February, we will have a whole set of new challenges with a new group of players and staff. I am very excited to be working with Claude, Lindy, Ken, the management group, support staff and players to defend our Olympic gold medal.”
“On behalf of Hockey Canada, I would like to thank this group of coaches for accepting this great challenge,” said Pascall. “Under the leadership of Steve, Mike and Bob, Canadians can be assured that nothing will be left to chance in preparing this team for Sochi.”
Mike Babcock, 50, led Canada to gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, making him the first coach to earn membership in the IIHF Triple Gold Club, having won Olympic gold, an IIHF World Championship gold medal and a Stanley Cup. This will mark his fourth time as a head coach with Canada on the international stage. The native of Manitouwadge, Ont., who grew up in Saskatoon, is in his eighth season as head coach of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, becoming the third-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 400 career wins, achieving the feat in his 699th game. Prior to joining the Red Wings, Babcock coached the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for two years. Babcock led the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup championship in 2008, and a Western Conference championship in 2009. Internationally, Babcock also coached Canada to gold at the 2004 IIHF World Championship and 1997 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Ken Hitchcock, 61, was an associate coach under Babcock at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, winning his fourth gold medal, and fifth medal overall in international competition with Canada. The native of Edmonton was also a member of the coaching staff for Canada at the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Hitchcock has just completed his second season as head coach of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. He was previously a head coach in Columbus, Philadelphia and Dallas, leading the Stars to their first and only Stanley Cup in 1999. Internationally, Hitchcock has coached Canada on the international stages a total of seven times, including three Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), two IIHF World Championships (2002, 2008), one World Cup of Hockey (2004) and one IIHF World Junior Championship (1988).
Claude Julien, 53, is in his sixth season as head coach of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, leading the team to its first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011 and winning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2009. Julien has served on Canadian coaching staffs on four previous occasions, as an assistant coach at the 2006 IIHF World Championship, winning a bronze medal as head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2000 IIHF World Junior Championship, a silver medal as an assistant coach at the 1999 IIHF World Junior Championship and a gold medal as head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 1997 Three Nations Cup. Julien has also served as an NHL head coach in over 700 games, including stints with the Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.
Lindy Ruff, 53, was an associate coach under Babcock at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, winning gold. He was Canada’s head coach at the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland, winning a silver medal, and at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The native of Warburg, Alta., was hired as head coach of the NHL’s Dallas Stars on June 21, 2013 after spending more than 15 years as head coach of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, becoming the winningest coach in franchise history. Ruff ranks second all-time in NHL history for most games coached with one franchise and most wins with one franchise, trailing only Al Arbour of the New York Islanders in both categories. Prior to joining Buffalo, Ruff was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers for three seasons. As a player, Ruff appeared in 691 regular season games, including parts of 10 seasons with Buffalo and three seasons with the New York Rangers.
47 players invited
Hockey Canada, along with Canada’s National Men’s Team management group, has invited 47 players to attend a national team orientation camp from Aug. 25-28 in Calgary.
The orientation camp will offer the opportunity for management, the coaching staff and Hockey Canada to present the players with the team’s plans for Sochi, such as playing systems, international rules and regulations and logistics. Hockey Canada held similar camps prior to the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
“I would like to congratulate the players being invited today to our orientation camp,” said Yzerman. “This marks an important step for this program, as it is our only opportunity to be together as a group before Sochi.”
“On behalf of Hockey Canada, we thank the players and staff that will be part of the orientation camp in August,” said Pascall. “This camp is very important in our preparation for the upcoming season Sochi, as it allows the management group, coaching staff, support staff and players to share information and continue our planning and preparation for Sochi in February.”
The camp roster includes:
- five goaltenders, 17 defencemen and 25 forwards;
- 46 players with international experience, including 38 with international experience at the senior level (Olympic Winter Games, IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship);
- 15 players who won gold with Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games;
- 18 players who played for Canada at the 2002, 2006 or 2010 Olympic Winter Games;
- 38 players who have played for Canada at an IIHF World Championship;
- 31 players who have played for Canada at an IIHF World Junior Championship;
- 17 players who have played for Canada at an IIHF World U18 Championship;
- four players who won the 2004 World Cup of Hockey with Canada;
- three of the eight Canadian players in the IIHF Triple Gold Club, having won Olympic gold, IIHF World Championship gold and a Stanley Cup:
- o Patrice Bergeron, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews;
- o Mike Babcock is the only coach in the IIHF Triple Gold Club;
- one player (Corey Crawford) who has yet to represent Canada in international competition;
- eight players (Karl Alzner, Crawford, Travis Hamonic, Braden Holtby, Kris Letang, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Carey Price) who have yet to represent Canada internationally at the senior level.
Collectively, the 47 players invited to orientation camp have:
- appeared in 1,295 games for Team Canada;
- won 96 gold medals for Canada in international competition;
- appeared in 21,728 NHL regular season games, 2,369 NHL playoff games and 57 NHL All-Star Games;
- won 34 Stanley Cups.
Chicago leads all NHL teams with five players invited to camp, followed by Pittsburgh and San Jose with four:
- 5 – Chicago
- 4 – Pittsburgh, San Jose
- 3 – Boston, Los Angeles, Washington
- 2– Anaheim, Carolina, Edmonton, Montreal, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver
- 1 – Colorado, Nashville, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Toronto, Winnipeg
Canada’s Team Orientation Camp Roster
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes
Karl Alzner, Washington Capitals
Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues
Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Mike Green, Washington Capitals
Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks
Travis Hamonic, New York Islanders
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Kristopher Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
Marc Methot, Ottawa Senators
Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
Marc Staal, New York Rangers
PK Subban, Montreal Canadiens
Marc-Édouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche
Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins
Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Michael Richards, Los Angeles Kings
Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Jordan Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
– with files from Hockey Canada