Former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is certainly one of the most successful bench bosses in the history of the sport. He’s the only coach to have been entered into the Triple Gold Club, having won the Stanley Cup, an IIHF World Championship title, and Olympic gold medal (done on two occasions).
However, after his dismissal by Toronto in November of 2019, his career came under scrutiny after multiple reports from former (and current) players painted Babcock in a less-than-flattering light regarding his treatment of them and coaching style.
One particular scathing testimonial came from former Red Wings forward Johan Franzen, who called Babcock the “worst person I’ve ever met”.
He’s once again back behind the bench, but not at the NHL level. He currently serves as head coach of the Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team.
During a recent interview with Sportsnet, Babcock was asked about the past issues that he’s had with players. In regards to Franzen, Babcock said that he felt bad for how Franzen felt, but that he’s moved on.
“If I’ve done something wrong, I have to own that,” he says. “But I’m good with my life. I’m good with my moral fiber. I’m good with my family.”
“It’s real simple for me. Anything in my life that I’ve done that I should be feeling bad about and I should apologize for, I’m good with that. I have to own it and I should do that. But some of the math doesn’t add up. It just doesn’t.”
“The reality is, after the fact, especially in today’s social media world, you can say whatever you want,” he begins. “It’s not my job to go out and say, ‘No, that didn’t happen.’”
Babcock also had this to say about an incident with Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, who alleged that Babcock embarrassed him in front of the team as a rookie.
“That’s a complete farce the way it’s talked about and the way it happened. It didn’t happen like that,” he says. “I asked the kid to do something. He did it. The next player came in … So did I ever try to put Mitch Marner in a tough place? Mitch Marner played great for Mike Babcock.”
– – Quotes via Sportsnet Link – –