A long-awaited announcement from Hockey Canada may be coming on Thursday.
Darren Dreger reports that Hockey Canada is prepared to announce Mike Babcock as the head coach of Team Canada for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Assistant coaches are reportedly going to be Joel Quenneville and Claude Julien, creating a Super Friends of Canadian coaches.
Quenneville was a name that had been floated as a potential head coach with the gobs of success he’s obviously had in the NHL through recent seasons. Naming Quenneville over Babcock might be seen as something of a passing of the torch.
But that passing won’t happen yet and maybe there’s something special about leaving Babcock, a Manitouwadge, Ontario native, in the driver’s seat in the year that he moves to coaching his first Canadian NHL team in the city where the World Cup is slated to take place.
To date, Babcock is the only coach in the triple gold club — combining a gold medal in the Olympics, the World Championships and a Stanley Cup win. With a win in the World Cup, he could put real distance between himself and other coaches in terms of championships historically. He also stands, with gold medals in the 2009 and 2013 Olympics, as only the second coach to ever lead a team to consecutive gold medals in the Olympics. The other was Viktor Tikhonov, who lead the Soviet team to golds in 1984 and 1988.
The official announcement, according to Dreger, will come during a press conference to be held Thursday in Toronto.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.