Babcock Behind the Bench in 2010

Hockey Canada announced on June 25 its coaching staff for 2010 Olympic men’s hockey team. Team Executive Director Steve Yzerman and Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson were on hand to formally select Mike Babcock as head coach.

Babcock has led the Detroit Red Wings to the past two Stanley Cup Finals, winning in 2008. Babcock will be joined by assistant coaches Ken Hitchcock (Columbus Blue Jackets), Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres) and Jacques Lemaire, who recently left the Minnesota Wild after eight seasons. For Hitchcock, it will be his third Olympic Winter Games.

At a press conference in Montreal, Babcock said though his Stanley Cup experiences were very special, to lead Team Canada is a position he has coveted for a long time. “Any time you have a chance to play for your country or be involved with your country is a whole new level of special,” Babcock told reporters. Back in 2008, after Detroit’s Stanley Cup victory, Babcock sought out Yzerman – not yet executive director – to indicate his desire for the position.

The men’s team is trying to rebound from a seventh-place finish at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. And that rebound will be set on home ice. Yzerman said he feels confident about the excellent achievements of these four coaches, and of the road ahead to Vancouver 2010.