Former NHLer finds fit in peewee
Dave Babych is like any other dad. He likes helping out his boys. That's one of the reasons he's back on the ice, this time as a coach.
"It was one of those things where you feel you have a lot to give and you just have to find an avenue to do it," Babych says. "My kids were playing anyways, but it was kind of something that was a good fit."
The Edmonton native spent the better part of two decades with five NHL teams including the Winnipeg Jets and the Vancouver Canucks. Today, the 48-year-old finds himself on the North Shore of British Columbia giving back to the game, which provided him with a memorable 20 years.
Babych currently doubles as the association president at North Shore Winter Club, and coaches the peewee A squad. It's a transition he admits was easier said than done.
"I think I've seen just about anything that can happen in a game, but to relay it to another person is a little bit different cause, you know before it was just a reaction, now you have to think about it."
His coaching abilities have not gone unnoticed as Hockey Canada announced Babych as an assistant for team Canada's men's national team heading to the Deutschland Cup next month in Germany (Frankfurt and Mannheim).
"I ran into Bob Nicholson (president of Hockey Canada) in the summer at our BC Amateur Hockey meetings and it was just one of those things where I just thought, 'Ah what the heck I'll just see if anything's kicking around'. He said 'You know what there may be' and then he got back to me which was terrific."
As the association president Babych is responsible for overseeing the hockey committee, which takes care of, among other things, ensuring the budget is met and rules are enforced properly.
Over the course of his NHL career, Babych had the opportunity play in many different cities with many different coaches. The one thing that has stood out for him is respecting the game, its players and everyone in the sport.
However, as a coach, Babych's philosophy is to ensure everyone is having fun.
"I ask [the kids] if they're having fun and I say, 'You know what? If you're not having fun, go do something else'. I know I was lucky enough to never have a problem."
Away from coaching Babych works in the local real estate market as a developer and tries to spend as much time as possible with his five kids.
As for his future in the coaching business, Babych says he wouldn't mind getting back to the NHL at some capacity, but says the jump is difficult, referring to former teammate Ryan Walter, who recently joined the Vancouver Canucks as an assistant coach.
"I would love to get involved in some way - it could be a small way, who knows, I'd be the mail boy," Babych laughs. "I don't know, who cares. That's how you build your way up right?"