Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, top, yells his team during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. McGill University announced Thursday that it will bestow an honourary degree on Wings coach Mike Babcock at its fall convocation ceremonies on Nov. 25.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Nam Y. Huh
MONTREAL - The Detroit Red Wings may soon be calling their coach Doctor Babcock.
McGill University announced Thursday that it will bestow an honorary degree on Wings coach Mike Babcock at its fall convocation ceremonies on Nov. 25.
He will be made a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. McGill will also give Calgary philanthropists and McGill benefactors Richard A. Walls and Carolina J. Walls a degree of Doctor of Science.
Babcock earned a degree in physical education after serving as captain of the McGill Redmen varsity hockey squad in the 1980s.
"I'm very honoured and humbled," the 50-year-old Babcock said in a statement. "When I left Saskatoon to go to McGill, I wasn't very interested in academia at all, I was just focused on hockey.
"But it changed my life forever. I'm absolutely thrilled and so pleased to have graduated from McGill and for what it gave me. No question about it that an honorary degree from McGill was more improbable to me than winning a Stanley Cup."
Babcock was a two-time all-star defenceman with the Redmen from 1983 to 1987, taking team MVP honours in his final season.
The Saskatoon native is a Triple Gold Club member, having coached winners of a world championship team in 2004, a Stanley Cup winner with Detroit in 2008 and a Winter Olympic gold medal squad. As he often does for important games, Babcock wore a McGill tie behind the bench as Canada won gold at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
He is to coach Canada's team again at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Babcock is the 11th McGill athlete to earn an honorary doctorate. Others include former International Olympic Committee vice-president Richard Pound and astronaut Julie Payette.