Mike Babcock, Todd McLellan Named Honorary Co-Chairs of 2017 Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf in Saskatoon

Gold-medal coaches lend support to hockey in Saskatchewan

SASKATOON, Sask. – Known around the world for their successes behind the bench in the NHL and internationally, Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan are joining forces to support hockey in their home province of Saskatchewan.

Babcock and McLellan, who teamed up in Detroit where they won a Stanley Cup together in 2008 and who now lead the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers respectively, have been named honorary co-chairs of the 14th annual Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf, hosted in Saskatoon June 19-20, 2017.

The opportunity to lend their names and influence to supporting their home province was one the duo was eager to take on.

“We have been lucky to call Saskatchewan home,” said Babcock, who grew up in Saskatoon where he played for both the Blades and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the early ‘80s. “Great, hard-working family people who know how to laugh and enjoy the great game of hockey, the province has provided many great players and coaches over the years. This is due to the moral fiber and values of the people.”

Half of the proceeds from the 2017 Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf will support legacy programs and projects in Saskatoon and throughout the province.

“When I think of Saskatchewan, the features that stand out most are its residents and their characteristics,” said McLellan, who played junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades and got his full-time coaching start with the North Battleford North Stars. “Pride, determination, and resiliency are all traits that are embraced and fostered at an early age, and passed from generation to generation. Players and coaches that develop in the province are pushed and expected to meet and exceed the standards of those that have come before them.”

Babcock is the only coach to earn membership in the IIHF Triple Gold Club, having led Canada to gold at the Olympic Winter Games (2010, 2014), World Cup of Hockey (2016), IIHF World Championship (2004), and IIHF World Junior Championship (1997). In his second year as head coach of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Babcock has also spent time behind the bench with the Anaheim Ducks (2002-04) and Detroit Red Wings (2005-15).

McLellan is in his second season as head coach of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. His 2015 IIHF World Championship gold medal came 15 years after winning bronze as an assistant coach at the IIHF World Junior Championship. Before joining the Oilers, McLellan spent seven seasons (2008-15) as head coach of the San Jose Sharks, winning the President’s Trophy in 2008-09 and setting the all-time franchise record for wins, with 311. He got his NHL start as an assistant coach with Detroit under Babcock.

The two-day event features a star-studded gala, being hosted at TCU Place on June 19, where Canada’s national teams who have won gold at IIHF and IPC world championship events throughout the season are celebrated. Four more events remain on the calendar that qualify – the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Mich., March 31-April 7; the 2017 IPC World Para Hockey Championship in Gangneung, South Korea, April 11-20; the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia, April 13-23; and the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Paris, France, and Cologne, Germany, May 5-21. A celebrity golf tournament will follow on June 20 at The Willows Golf & Country Club.

A cornerstone component of the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf is the honouring of that year’s Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada. First introduced in 2012, the Order of Hockey in Canada honours a select number of individuals annually whose role or service in the game in recognized as extraordinary in Canada. The 2017 Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada include Scotty Bowman, Murray Costello, and Fran Rider.

Team Canada alumnus Blair Davidson is chairing the local steering committee working with Hockey Canada, the Foundation, and Saskatoon Sports Tourism on the event.

For more information on the Hockey Canada Foundation and the 2017 Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf, please visit HockeyCanada.ca.   

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