McGill grads butt heads in playoff quest for Stanley Cup
A pair of McGill University graduates and former teammates will be crossing paths for the final time this season in the NHL playoffs when Detroit and Chicago hook up for the deciding game of their Western Conference best-of-seven semifinal series on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (CBC). It is unknown if either will elect to wear their old school tie.
Mike Babcock, head coach of the Red Wings will be trying to out-manoeuvre Jamie Kompon, an assistant coach with the Blackhawks under bench boss Joel Quenneville.
Babcock, 50, who was born in Manitouwadge, Ont., and raised in Saskatoon, Sask., played defence for the McGill Redmen from 1983 to 1987, while Kompon, a 46-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ont., patrolled the Redmen blueline from 1985 to 1989.
Both graduated with degrees in physical education (Babcock in 1986, Kompon in 1989) and each served as team captain in their senior year. They each own Stanley Cup rings, with Babcock guiding the Wings to victory in 2008 and Kompon helping the Los Angeles Kings win the coveted chalice last year.
Babcock is the only head coach to win championship rings at five different major levels, including the CIS (Lethbridge, 1994), the IIHF world junior tournament (1997), the IIHF world senior championship (2004), the Vancouver Olympics (2008) and the Stanley Cup (2008). Since his coaching career began in 1988, Babcock has coached in a combined 1,877 games overall, heading into Game 7. He has compiled a 1,025-687-165 lifetime record, including a 146-100 mark in playoffs.
Kompon, who has had coaching stints in three NHL cities, joined the Blackhawks this season, after coaching with the Kings in 2011-12 and working for nine campaigns with the Blues. In the spring of 2006 he was on the coaching staff of Team Canada at the IIHF world championships in Latvia. Before joining the Blues, Kompon was an assistant with the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League for the 1996-97 season.
Kompon became the 14th former McGill hockey player to get his name engraved on the Cup and only the fourth to do so as a coach, following in the coaching footsteps of Babcock and the legendary Patrick brothers, Frank and Lester.
Babcock has reached the Cup final three times with Anaheim (2003) and Detroit (2008 & 2009), capturing the elusive trophy in 2008.
Lester Patrick, who played at McGill from 1900 to 1905, coached the New York Rangers to Stanley Cup titles in both 1928 and 1933, in addition to his inaugural Cup win with Victoria in 1925. He was the losing coach in 1926, 1929, 1932 and 1937. He also won the Cup three times as a player.
Frank Patrick, who played at McGill from 1904 to 1907, won the Cup as a player-coach with the Vancouver Millionaires in 1915. He also coached in three Cup finals (1918, 1921, 1922) but lost each time.
Two other Cup winners,Art RossandHarry Hyland, coached the McGill team in the 1910-1920 era but did not play for them.