In a society where class and character are often mistaken for each other, former Detroit Red Wing coach Mike Babcock is again showing both to his friends, fans and admirers.
Friday’s Detroit News and Detroit Free Press display a full-page ad in which the outgoing coach thanks his legions of fans for a decade of red and white memories.
The ad, which shows a profile of Babcock as well as a shot of him hoisting the Stanley Cup while being hugged by his family, reads:
“Thank you for an amazing 10 years!
We’ll never forget the support you’ve provided us and will always cherish the memories we’ve shared together in Hockeytown. The Babcocks.”
On Wednesday, Babcock made his long-awaited decision regarding his future by deciding to take a monstrous offer from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The contract is an eight-year deal worth $50 million, a $6.25 million per-year average — Babcock is reportedly able to opt out after five years — a huge acquisition by Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan.
The offer from Shanahan, a former Red Wings player, makes Babcock among the highest-paid coaches among the four major team sports.
Babcock, 52, had become the biggest free-agent story in the NHL, as his contract with the Red Wings was to expire on June 30.
Babcock coached the Red Wings for the last 10 seasons and made the playoffs every time, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 (and losing to Pittsburgh in Game 7 the next year).
In that 10-year span the Maple Leafs made the playoffs only once, losing in the first-round to the Bruins in 2013. They haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967.