When he returns home to Saskatoon next month, he will add another accolade to his lengthy list of commendations and distinctions, as the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) pays tribute to Babcock by awarding him an honorary Doctor of Laws for outstanding achievement and exceptional service to the community, at Spring Convocation on June 2 in TCU Place.
"I have always been real tied to Saskatoon and I always come home, I have real good friends there and I am proud to be from Saskatchewan," said the 53-year-old Babcock, who signed an eight-year contract last year to serve as head coach of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. "It has been fantastic to see the growth of the province and the city. When you look at Saskatoon, Saskatoon is a beautiful, beautiful city, a great place to raise your children and we have a fantastic university in the heart of it … That is what makes you proud is it is part of your roots and now you are being honoured in the city you grew up in, so it is a special thing."
A former member of the Huskies hockey team who went on to earn a bachelor's degree and do post-graduate work at McGill University, Babcock will join the likes of NHL legend Gordie Howe and former Canadian Olympians Diane Jones-Konihowski and Catriona Le May Doan as Saskatchewan sports stars to earn honorary degrees from the U of S.
"With a Stanley Cup, world hockey championship titles and Olympic gold medals to his credit, Mike Babcock's coaching record is remarkable and we are honoured to have him take part in our spring convocation ceremonies," said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. "Off the ice, Mr. Babcock is a champion for the community, supporting several charitable causes, serving as a vocal advocate of mental health awareness and volunteering his time to raise funding for cancer research. A former U of S Huskies hockey player and Saskatoon resident, we are extremely proud to call Mike Babcock one of our own."
Babcock brought the Stanley Cup to Royal University Hospital on the U of S campus in 2008 after guiding the Detroit Red Wings to the championship and was honoured when the City of Saskatoon declared July 17, 2010 as Mike Babcock Day after he guided Canada's men's hockey team to Olympic gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Babcock, who has coached in more than 1,000 NHL games, is also part of a unique Huskie hat trick, one of three former U of S hockey players now serving as head coaches in the NHL along with Todd McLellan (Edmonton Oilers) and Willie Desjardins (Vancouver Canucks).
Babcock will be honoured during the 9 am convocation ceremony at TCU Place on June 2.
For the full Spring Convocation schedule, please visit: https://students.usask.ca/events/spring-convocation.php
University of Saskatchewan:
Established in 1907, the University of Saskatchewan has a long history of excellence. We are a member of the U15 group of Canada's top research-intensive universities, offering unique facilities such as the Canadian Light Source, VIDO-InterVac and the Global Institute for Water Security. The university is committed to First Nations, Métis and Inuit student success and to welcoming diverse perspectives and ways of knowing, both from across Saskatchewan and around the world. Our graduates are known for their work ethic, resourceful nature and determination, and will continue to build on our history of success to address the world's challenges.
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