May 3, 2016 2:47 pm
Updated: May 4, 2016 9:22 am

U of S to pay tribute to Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock

Head coach Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

SASKATOON – When Mike Babcock returns to his hometown of Saskatoon next month, he can add another line to an already impressive resume. The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is paying tribute to the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs with an honorary degree.

On Tuesday, the university announced it will award him a Doctor of Laws for outstanding achievement and exceptional service to the community.

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“Off the ice, Mr. Babcock is a champion for the community, supporting several charitable causes, serving as a vocal advocate of mental health awareness and volunteering his time to raise funding for cancer research,” U of S President Peter Stoicheff said.

“We are extremely proud to call Mike Babcock one of our own.”

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The former member of the U of S Huskies hockey team in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league went on to earn a bachelor’s degree before pursuing a coaching career.

“I have always been real tied to Saskatoon and I always come home, I have real good friends there and I am proud to be from Saskatchewan,” Babcock said.

“Saskatoon is a beautiful, beautiful city, a great place to raise your children and we have a fantastic university in the heart of it … That is what makes you proud is it is part of your roots and now you are being honoured in the city you grew up in, so it is a special thing.”

The 53-year-old is the only coach in hockey history to win a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a world championship.

He was also honoured when the City of Saskatoon declared July 17, 2010 “Mike Babcock Day” after guiding Team Canada to gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He led the men’s hockey team to a second consecutive Olympic victory in Sochi, Russia.

Babcock will be honoured during the spring convocation ceremony on June 2 at TCU Place.

He will join the likes of other Saskatchewan sports stars that have earned honorary degrees from the U of S, such as NHL legend Gordie Howe.

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