Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman officially welcomed Mike Babcock as coach of the men's hockey team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on Thursday morning.
The Detroit Red Wings coach has amassed an NHL regular season record of 282-139-54 with 19 ties in six seasons. He coached Detroit to a Stanley Cup victory in 2008, and has reached the final on two other occasions.
Babcock, 46, will be assisted by three men with over 37 years of combined NHL coaching experience — Ken Hitchcock (Columbus), Lindy Ruff (Buffalo) and Jacques Lemaire, who recently stepped down after eight seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Wild.
"I'm certain that Mike is the right guy to take the reins and lead this team, and play a style of play that will be successful this winter in Vancouver," Yzerman said from Bell Centre in Montreal.
Canada will be looking for a second Olympic gold medal in men's hockey in eight years after a disappointing seventh-place finish in Torino in 2006. Yzerman was on the team that captured gold in 2002 in Salt Lake City, as well as the squad that finished out of the medals four years earlier in Nagano.
It is expected that roughly 40 players will be invited in the coming days to a camp later this summer in Calgary.
"The vision of how our team and the way we think Canadian hockey should be played … is a 200-foot game where guys play both ways, with total pressure on offence and on defence," said Babcock.
Babcock follows Marc Crawford (1998) and Pat Quinn (2002, 2006) as coaches for Canada since NHL players were allowed to participate in the Olympics.