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Father's death leaves Babcock coaching with heavy heart

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Uniondale, N.Y. — Mike Babcock coached with a heavy heart Sunday on Long Island.

The father of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, Mike Babcock Sr., died Saturday evening in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The elder Babcock was 78.

Babcock said his father had been sick for some time and had congestive heart failure and bad lungs.

"In the end we were praying for him to join my mom and those prayers were answered," said Babcock, after Sunday's 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders. "He's in a better spot. Obviously any time you lose a parent, it doesn't matter how old you are, it's a blow."

Babcock said he'll remain with the Red Wings through Tuesday, then travel to Saskatoon Wednesday for the funeral.

Babcock said his father was an avid hockey fan.

"A huge hockey fan, a huge Red Wings fan," Babcock said. "He would've been cheering for us tonight (but) he wouldn't have been impressed that we didn't get the job done."

The athletic department at McGill University in Canada, the younger Babcock's alma mater, expressed condolences to the Babcock family on Twitter.

"Sincere condolences to #McGill grad Mike Babcock and family on the passing of his father, Mike Sr., Saturday night," the tweet said.