Babcock called on to coach Team Canada again

BY foxsports • July 22, 2013

Coach Mike Babcock is officially on the hot seat, but not because of his Detroit Red Wings.

On Monday, Hockey Canada named Babcock their Olympic men's hockey coach.

Babcock coached Team Canada to the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

Although there's no more difficult task than trying to win the gold in Canada's sport while in Canada, the expectations remain the same -- gold medal or bust.

Anything less than gold is considered a failure.

Fortunately for Babcock, last week the NHL agreed to allow its players to participate in this winter's Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

He'll also have two of the same coaches assisting him, St. Louis' Ken Hitchcock and Dallas' Lindy Ruff. This time, Boston's Claude Julien will join the group, replacing Jacques Lemaire.

"I am extremely proud to represent my country and coach Team Canada," Babcock said in Hockey Canada's press release. "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."

Babcock, 50, is the only coach to have won Olympic gold, a Stanley Cup (2008) and an IIHF World Championship (2004).

No doubt some of his current Red Wings players will work their hardest to see that Team Canada doesn't repeat as gold-medal winner. Red Wings star center Pavel Datsyuk will likely suit up for his native Russia, and captain Henrik Zetterberg will probably suit up again for Team Sweden, which won Olympic gold in 2006.

Former longtime Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, now Tampa Bay Lightning general manager, remains the executive director of Hockey Canada.

"Canada’s coaching staff has a great deal of international and professional experience for the challenge that awaits us in Sochi," Yzerman said in the release. "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."

Wings general manager Ken Holland is also on Hockey Canada's management team.

Hockey Canada has already announced an orientation camp for the national men's hockey team from Aug. 25-28 in Calgary.


share