Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports
With an undermanned roster to guide and a shiny new LottoMax-sized paycheque to live up to, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock would appear to have his hands full for this upcoming season. Though Babcock’s schedule is full, that won’t necessarily preclude the competitive, prideful bench boss from strong considering the possibility of coaching Team Canada’s 2016 World Cup of Hockey team, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
In a second period ‘Headlines’ segment during a preseason edition of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday evening, Friedman passed along that Babcock is interested in coaching Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup. And obviously Hockey Canada would be amenable to having the two-time Gold Medal winner behind the bench for the exhibition tournament.
“Team Canada at the World Cup has not named its coach yet – John Tortorella (Team USA) and Ralph Krueger (Team World) are already named,” Friedman said on Saturday. “I asked Mike Babcock today if he would be interested if Team Canada was interested on him. He said he would be. And he is on the list to be considered for Team Canada’s head coach.”
Considering Babcock’s lengthy track record of international success – his resume includes Gold Medal victories at the World Junior championships, at the World Championships and at twice two consecutive Olympic Games – he’s surely more than just ‘on the list to be considered’ from Hockey Canada’s vantage point. Unless Team Canada would much prefer a dedicated head coach who isn’t currently working in the league and would, theoretically, have more time to prepare for the tournament, Babcock would have to be the slam dunk first choice.
The 2016 tournament is scheduled to be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto next September, so it’s not as if coaching the over-24 national team would entail some significant sort of additional travel burden for Babcock. And after this season if Babcock wants a taste of what it’s like to be expected to deliver wins at Front and Bay, well that would be understandable.
We can also surely relate with the urge any sane person would have to win a trophy that looks like a silver mixing bowl buoyed by two dozen upside down stemless champagne flutes:
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