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June 1, 2018
Thirty years ago, the Red Deer College Kings hired a 25 year old as their head coach who would take the team to the CCAA championship final game in his rookie season.
Mike Babcock was a playing coach with the Whitby Warriors of the British Hockey League for a season prior to becoming the bench boss of what was, at the time, the most successful team in CCAA hockey history. No team had more championships (3), more championship final appearances (5) or more podium finishes (5) than the Kings.
In his three seasons with Red Deer, the first was the most successful and earned him an ACAC Coach of the Year Award. The Kings finished atop the regular season standings, won the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference title, and placed second at the CCAA National Hockey Championships in the 1988-89 campaign. When Babcock left Red Deer following the 1990-91 season, his winning percentage in the regular season and post season with the Kings was .665.
Babcock then guided the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns to a CIAU title in 1994 and Canada's Under 20 National Team to a World Junior Championship in 1997. He would later coach Canada's National Team to a World Championship in 2004, the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008, and Canada's Olympic Team to gold medals in 2010 and 2014 to become the first and only coach to be a member of the Triple Gold Club.
On June 18th in London, Babcock will be inducted into the Order of Hockey in Canada along with another coach who guided a team to an ACAC championship -- Danielle Goyette.