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March 19, 2018


Thirty seasons ago, a native of Saskatoon with a season's experience in college hockey as an assistant coach ascended to head coach and the rest is history. With the SAIT Trojans, Ken Babey would post more wins in the regular season and post season (534) than any other Canadian post-secondary varsity hockey coach.

This past weekend, Babey as head coach guided Canada's National Para Ice Hockey team to a silver medal at the IPC Paralympic Winter Games in Gangneung, South Korea. Canada dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the United States in the event's finale. Canada advanced to the gold medal game with a 7-0 win over Korea in the semi final after blanking Sweden 17-0, Italy 10-0 and Norway 8-0 in the preliminary round.

For the past four seasons, Babey has coached Canada to three gold medals, six silver medals and one bronze medal in international competition.

Previously, Babey was head coach of the Trojans for 27 seasons from 1987-88 through 2013-14 directing the men's hockey team to nine conference championships (1996-97, 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2013-14) and one national title (1999-2000).

During his tenure at SAIT, Babey also was a head coach with Canada's National Men's Under 18 Team at the Four Nations Cup (2000), an assistant coach with Canada's National Men's Team at the Loto Cup (2003), and a head coach with Denmark's National Men's Under 20 Team (2007) at the IIHF Division I, Group A World Junior Championship. Each of the three teams returned home with gold medals.

In 2014, Babey left the ACAC as the career conference coaching leader in championships (9), first place finishes (10), seasons (27), wins (528), and games (839). He holds 16 ACAC career coaching records including most consecutive championships (4), most consecutive first place finishes (7) and most consecutive seasons in the playoffs (20).

At the CCAA National Hockey Championships, Babey guided the Trojans to one gold medal and two silver medals in three appearances in which the team won six of ten games.

The run of four consecutive conference championships beginning in 2007 sandwiched between seven straight first place finishes beginning in 2005 had its highlights. Babey eclipsed Clare Drake’s mark of 427 regular and post season wins to become Canada’s winningest post-secondary hockey coach on March 5, 2010. The Trojans equaled the mark of four consecutive conference championships and seven straight championship final appearances set by the NAIT Ooks in the 1980's on March 22, 2010 and March 4, 2011 respectively.

All dynasties must come to an end and it is how the dynasty ended on March 27, 2011 that still casts a black cloud. Fingers were pointed at Babey for actions that he did not take, when they should have been pointed elsewhere for actions taken. In the 2010-11 ACAC Men's Hockey Championship Final Series, the Mount Royal College Cougars dressed an ineligible player for the fifth and deciding game. A Mount Royal College staff member disclosed the information to the conference shortly thereafter but some media members falsely accused Babey of doing so. What transpired was a comedy of errors by the ACAC which included, among other things, the failure to follow precedent of similar operating code violations and the failure to follow precedent of forfeiture of a game in a previous hockey championship final series as well as the appointment of an appeal tribunal chair who had a vested interest in the outcome as he was a graduate of Mount Royal College. In an attempt to quell further scrutiny and controversy, the tribunal's decision (with the Mount Royal grad as chair) was decreed as "final and binding upon the parties and upon all members of the ACAC".

Babey last coached in the ACAC in 2014 and will be eligible for nomination to the ACAC Hall of Fame in the spring of 2019. Babey last coached in the CCAA in 2001 and is currently eligible for nomination to the CCAA Hall of Fame in the coach category.

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