Mike Babcock enters his 10th season as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and the longest-tenured coach in the National Hockey League. He has compiled an impressive 415-198-91 record over his first nine campaigns in the Motor City, including a league-best 195-116-41 on the road. Last season, Babcock became the winningest coach in franchise history, passing both Scotty Bowman (410) and Jack Adams (415) in victories en route to his second career nomination for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year. In 2011-12, he became the third-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 400 career wins, achieving the feat in his 699th game as an NHL head coach (behind only Scotty Bowman at 690 games and Glen Sather at 694). Under his watch, the Red Wings have twice captured the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s regular-season champion. In 2005-06, Detroit finished with a league-best 58 wins and 124 points, including an NHL record 31 road victories. The Red Wings again topped the league standings in 2007-08 with 54 wins and 115 points, and captured the Jennings Trophy allowing the fewest goals against. Those win totals (58, 54) represented the second and third-highest respectively in franchise history. From 2006-09, Babcock became the first coach in NHL history to guide his team to 50 wins in each of his first four seasons with a team. Since 2005-06, his first season as bench boss of the Red Wings, Detroit has more regular-season wins (415) and postseason wins (64) than any team in the NHL. The Saskatoon, SK, native was also a finalist for the 2008 Jack Adams Award and was the winner of the Sporting News’ 2008 NHL Coach of the Year, as voted on by his peers. He was named the NHL’s Coach of the Decade (2000-09) by both the Sporting News and SportsIllustrated.com. His overall record through 11 seasons is 484-260-19-105, giving him more regular-season wins than any other head coach since 2002-03, his first season in the NHL.
Babcock’s postseason success is equally impressive. He guided the Red Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup in just his third season with the team, securing his first NHL title and the 11th in team history. Babcock has coached in 136 postseason games since 2003, 16 more than any other coach during that span. He is 10th all-time with 79 career postseason wins and is third all-time among NHL head coaches for most playoff wins through their first 10 NHL seasons (Sather-89, Keenan-84). Babcock has led his teams to the Stanley Cup Final three times and the Western Conference Finals four times.
Prior to joining the Red Wings, Babcock spent two seasons with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (2002-04), where in his first season as head coach he led the Ducks to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. With four straight wins over Detroit in the first round of the 2003 playoffs, the Ducks became the first team to sweep a defending Stanley Cup champion since 1952 when the Red Wings swept the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In 2002-03, Babcock led Anaheim to a then franchise-best 40 wins and 95 points (40-27-9-6). Anaheim was the most improved team in the NHL that season, finishing 26 points ahead of their 2001-02 total. The Ducks also set club records for lowest goals-against average (2.32) and fewest goals allowed (193).
Prior to stepping behind the bench in Anaheim, Babcock spent two seasons as head coach of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (2000-02), at the time the primary American Hockey League affiliate of Detroit and Anaheim. He led the club to a combined 74-59-20-7 record, including a franchise-best 41 wins and 95 points (41-26-9-4) in 2000-01. Cincinnati qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs both seasons under his direction.
Babcock moved to Cincinnati following a successful six-year run as the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League (1994-95 through 1999-2000). He compiled a regular season record of 228-173-29 in Spokane. He was twice named WHL Coach of the Year (1996 and 2000) and was selected as head coach of the 2000 WHL West Division All-Star Team.
In 1993-94, his only season with the Lethbridge Pronghorns of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), Babcock guided his team to a national championship winning the CIS University Cup and was named CIS Coach of the Year.
Babcock, 51, has also represented his native Canada at several international competitions. Most notably, he became the only coach in hockey history to lead his country to a gold medal victory in consecutive Olympic appearances after guiding Canada for both the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The 2014 Canadian Olympic Team was one of the most dominant in the tournament’s history, as they never trailed during the tournament and surrendered just three goals against during their perfect 6-0 run. Babcock’s first international coaching experience came in 1997, when he earned the honor of coaching Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Switzerland. Under his guidance, Canada secured gold with a 2-0 win over the United States in the championship game. In 2004, he led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Championships in Prague as the Canadians posted a 7-1-1 overall record and defeated Sweden 5-3 in the tournament final. He became the first Canadian coach to serve as bench boss for both the World Junior and World Championship teams. Babcock then led Canada to a gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and became the first coach to win all three components of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Triple Gold Club (World Championships, Olympics and Stanley Cup).
Away from the rink, Babcock is involved in several charitable causes. He is a staunch supporter of organizations focused on raising money for cancer research for kids, including the Jeffrey Thomas Hayden Foundation, an organization created to increase awareness about pediatric brain tumors while providing education and support to affected families. He is also an avid supporter of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, hosting patients at every Red Wings home game and making frequent visits to the hospital throughout the season. Babcock continues to be active in the Salvation Army’s annual fundraising efforts around Metro Detroit as well, serving as a bell ringer to support the cause over the last nine holiday seasons.
Mike and his wife, Maureen, reside in Northville and have three children, Allie, Michael and Taylor.