Former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will serve as a volunteer advisor to the coaching staff of the University of Vermont’s men’s hockey team.
Former NHL defenceman Mark Stuart is also joining the team as a volunteer assistant coach.
Babcock, 57, was fired by the Maple Leafs in November after the team opened the season with a 9-10-4 record. In 1,301 games as the head coach of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Detroit Red Wings and Maple Leafs, Babcock has accrued a 700-418-164 record with 19 ties. He was behind the bench when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and coached Team Canada to two Olympic gold medal wins in 2010 and 2014. At Vermont, “Babcock’s role will be to serve as a resource for the coaching staff, lending his experience and perspective as one of the top hockey minds in the world,” a statement from the school says.
“(Babcock) is a premier coach across any athletic platform and as a coaching staff we are very fortunate to be able to draw from his experiences,” Catamounts head coach Todd Woodcroft said in a statement. “Mike’s knowledge, his network and above all else, the modern lens he uses to look at the game of hockey will help accelerate the progression of our entire program.”
Stuart, 36, appeared in 673 games with the Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets. His role with Vermont will be his first coaching job after retiring from playing in 2018.
“Often as a coach, you learn more from the players than they learn from you,” Woodcroft said of Stuart in a statement. “Working with Mark in Winnipeg and watching him approach his career as if every day were his last was something that always stood out to me. When the process to hire a coaching staff began, the question started with a “what” versus a “who”. Mark hit every aspect of the “what” and I know that his approach to this job will be reflective of everything I ever saw from Mark as a professional – he will earn the right to represent this team every single day. Players can expect to learn daily from Mark what it takes to be a professional – on and off the ice.”
Jeff Hill will also be returning to Vermont for his sixth season as an assistant coach.