A day after the news broke that Mike Babcock had resigned as the Head Coach of the University of Saskatchewan’s men’s hockey team, Babcock himself is providing some more clarity as to why he made that decision. In an interview today on 650 CKOM radio in Saskatchewan, Babcock discussed his decision and his future plans. When asked if he would seek an NHL opportunity if a team approached, Babcock said “[n]o, that’s sure not the plan.”
The former NHL bench boss elaborated, saying he had discussed his plans with his wife, noting that they had decided to retire when they both turned 60, and with Mike at age 59, “[b]asically, that’s what it is.” While Babcock reiterated that future opportunities for him are not in his family plans, he didn’t close the door with absolute certainty, adding “[i]f things change, I guess they change, but surely that’s not the plan.” Babcock’s tenure with Saskatchewan was brief, albeit successful, coaching the Huskies to a playoff berth. A Saskatchewan native, Babcock said the opportunity to be close to home and family was “a spectacular experience.”
Considered one of the premier head coaches of his generation, Babcock amassed a record of 700-418-19-164 over 1,301 career regular season NHL games between the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Perhaps most impressive, all but three of Babcock’s teams made it to the playoffs under his watch, leading to a 90-74 record in those playoffs, including three appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals and a championship with the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings. Babcock last coached in the NHL during the 2019-20 season before he was let go by the Maple Leafs after a 9-10-4 start to the season. As recently as the 2020 offseason, he had been a candidate of interest for available NHL head coaching positions. If this is indeed the end of the road for Babcock, Hall of Fame debates are very likely part of his near future.