Red Wings' Babcock to coach Team Canada
Team Canada is officially in Mike Babcock's hands.
He was introduced Thursday as the hockey coach of the men's 2010 Olympic team, heading up a staff that includes Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff and Jacques Lemaire.
"Any time you have a chance to play for your country or be involved with your country is a whole new level of special," he said.
Babcock has been one of the NHL's most successful coaches in recent years. He helped the Detroit Red Wings to back-to-back Stanley Cup finals -- winning in 2008 -- and posted at least 50 wins in four consecutive seasons.
Canada is coming off its worst showing at the games, finishing seventh at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Hitchcock is the lone holdover from that coaching staff. He was also an assistant on the 2002 team that won gold in Salt Lake City.
This is a position Babcock has coveted for some time.
After the Stanley Cup celebration in 2008, he sought out Steve Yzerman in the hallway at Mellon Arena and asked him how to apply for the Olympic job. Yzerman had yet to assume the position of executive director, but he told Babcock that Hockey Canada already knew he was interested.
"I'm certain that Mike is the right guy to take the reins and lead this team," Yzerman said Thursday.
Ruff was the head coach of the Canadian team that recently suffered a second straight loss to Russia in the final of the world championship.
Lemaire has coached more than 1,100 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild, and won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995. He stepped down as Wild coach at the end of the season after missing the playoffs.