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One of Mike Babcock’s mentors received the Order of Canada this past weekend

The Hockey Hall of Fame will announce its 2013 inductees on Tuesday, July 9th, and Red Wings player mentor Chris Chelios and former Devil and Duck Scott Niedermayer are likely to take up 2 of the 4 possible spots on the "roster" (Markus Naslund, Keith Tkachuk, Paul Kariya, Rob Blake and Mathieu Schneider are also up for induction for the first time this year).

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's been advocating the induction of former University of Alberta coach Clare Drake for as long as I can remember, and while he probably won't be inducted this year, the Edmonton Journal's John MacKinnon reports that Drake was awarded the Order of Canada this past weekend, and his name should matter to you because Drake influenced a generation of coaches, including Wings coach Mike Babcock:

“His fingerprints are all over us,” St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock once told the Journal’s Jim Matheson, listing the likes of Dave Tippett, Marc Crawford, Barry Trotz and Mike Babcock as disciples of Drake. “He was the John Wooden of college hockey. His record speaks for itself. It’s not the NHL Hall of Fame, it’s about a person’s impact on the game, and Clare has had a major impact.”

Drake, who is his 80s now, is long retired, but his Golden Bears teams were perennial champions in the Canada West conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport system. Even in retirement, NHL teams often sought out Drake as a consultant to help them fine-tune a malfunctioning power play or troubleshoot their clunky breakout or what have you.

“I’m a head coach today because of Clare Drake,” Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the Journal’s David Staples in 2011. “His inventiveness and analytical mind have contributed so much to the growth in the tactics and strategies of Canadian hockey.”

Drake coached the Golden Bears hockey team for 28 seasons, spread over four different stints — 1958-75, 1976-79, 1980-1983 and 1984-89. His teams recorded 697 victories, a CIS record. Drake’s Golden Bears lost 296 times and battled to 37 ties. He fashioned a .695 winning percentage and led the Golden Bears hockey team to six national titles. In 1967, Canada’s centennial year, he won national championships as head coach of both the Bears hockey and football teams, a rare double in Canadian university coaching history.

Fittingly, he was named to the Order of Canada the same year the Golden Bears program celebrated its 100th competitive season.


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w2j2's avatar

It is entirely fitting that Clare Drake be awarded the Order of Canada.
He is a national treasure!

Posted by w2j2 on 07/02/13 at 09:26 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Congrats to Mr. Drake.  A stunning career and a well-deserved recognition.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/02/13 at 12:51 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.