Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Red Wings, Canadian Olympic Coach Babcock Becomes Honorary Doctor of Laws

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Red Wings, Canadian Olympic Coach Babcock Becomes Honorary Doctor of Laws

Article excerpt

Babcock receives honorary degree from McGill

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MONTREAL - Coach Mike Babcock never forgot McGill University and his alma mater certainly never forgot him.

On Monday, McGill bestowed an honorary doctorate of laws of one of its best known graduates, who often wears a university tie behind the bench for big games with the Detroit Red Wings or Canada's Olympic team.

Babcock was a star defenceman for the McGill Redmen from 1983 to 1987, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education and doing some postgraduate work in sports psychology before going on to be one of the world's top hockey coaches.

"I grew up in a family with three sisters," the 50-year-old said before accepting the degree at the university's fall convocation ceremonies. "I never had any brothers, but when I left McGill I had brothers for the rest of my life.

"The opportunity for me to grow as a human being and get a foundation -- that to me is what McGill is. It provides a foundation and sets you up for the rest of our life. I'm thankful for that. I'm fortunate to be tied to the school ever since. I feel it's important to give back as much as you can."

Babcock, who will coach Canada's team again at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, embraces his old university like few Canadian athletes or coaches.

The Manitouwadge, Ont., native, who grew up in Saskatoon, doesn't have a lot of free time between his NHL and Olympic duties, but he will still help out the Redmen by giving a call to a potential recruit or tossing some cash in the pot to fund a trip to the national finals.

But the biggest boost may come from the publicity the institution gets when he wears a McGill tie, as he did when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and when he led Canada to a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

He considers the ties good luck, and was wearing a new black and white one that was made especially for the degree ceremony.

"Every time I'm around McGill I've been very lucky," he said. "I was lucky when I told my dad years ago I was going back to the University of Saskatchewan and he said 'no you're not.'

"That was the only time he ever got involved. …

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