Big news for Toronto sports fans this week as the Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that the leagues most coveted coach Mike Babcock will be the 30th head coach in the club’s history.
Babcock joins the Leafs after serving as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the past 10 seasons.
Babcock has signed onto a reported 8-year contract worth a whopping $50 million, making him the highest paid coach in the NHL, and one of the top paid coaches in all sports leagues.
Highest-paid coaches by league NBA: Popovich $11M NCAAB: Coach K $9.7M NFL Payton: $8M NCAAF: Saban $7.1M NHL: Babcock $6.25M
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 20, 2015
The hiring of Babcock was announced Wednesday afternoon, and it has ended months of speculation as to where the veteran coach would land.
At a media conference today, the Leafs organization officially welcomed Babcock.
“Im looking forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the journey. It’s going to be a long one, but it will be a fun one,” Babcock said.
Babcock was under contract with Detroit through June 30, but the Red Wings granted their coach permission to speak to other teams on May 8.
By hiring Babcock, the Leafs must send a third-round pick to Detroit as compensation.
During this years draft lottery, the Leafs lost their chance at first round pick Connor McDavid who is now headed to Edmonton. But hey, clearly it worked out for the best as the club landed the top bench coach in the league.
While coaching the Red Wings, the club won the Presidents’ Trophy on two occasions during the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons. He also led the team to the playoffs in each of his 10 seasons.
In 2007-08, Babcock led the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup championship in just his third season with the team, securing his first NHL title and the 11th in team history.
Babcock was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2014.
Babcock also said today, “I love to win. I have a burning desire to win. I want to be here with these guys and build a team off the ice and on the ice that the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs can be proud of.”
The Leafs have had a troublesome past few years, missing the playoffs last season for the ninth time in 10 years. So Babcock might be the answer to save the blighted cultural institution.
During today’s press conference Babcock said he didn’t come here [Toronto] to make the playoffs, he came here to be apart of a cup process.
I believe Babcock is a winner and that he can without a doubt help rebuild the team to where it needs to be, and who knows, maybe even lead them to a Stanley Cup championship….something the club hasn’t achieved since 1967.