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Babcock career timeline: College days through firing by Maple Leafs

Led Red Wings to Stanley Cup in 2008, was in fifth season as Toronto coach

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

A timeline of the career of Mike Babcock, who was fired as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday:

1986 -- Babcock graduates with a degree in physical education from McGill University, where he was a defenseman and captain of the hockey team. He also does some post-graduate work in sports psychology at McGill.

1987-88 -- Serves as player-coach of Whitley in the British Premier League. Scores 34 goals and has 132 points in 36 games; the team finishes two points out of first place.

1988-91 -- Babcock returns to Canada and coaches at Red Deer College. His team wins the Alberta College championship in 1989, and he was named coach of the year.

1991-93 -- Coaches Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League. The team goes 60-78 with six ties in two seasons, loses in the first round of the WHL playoffs in 1992 and doesn't qualify in 1993.

1993-94 -- Takes over at the University of Lethbridge for one season, guiding the team to the CIS University Cup and is named CIS coach of the year.

1994-2000 -- Returns to the WHL as coach of Spokane, where he remains for six seasons. Babcock is named coach of the year in 1995-96 and 1999-2000 after guiding the team to first place in the Western Division and into the WHL Finals each time.

1997 -- Coaches Canada internationally for the first time at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Switzerland. Canada wins the tournament, defeating the United States in the championship game.

2000-02 -- Is named coach of Cincinnati of the American Hockey League. Cincinnati, the AHL affiliate of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Detroit Red Wings, goes 74-59-7 with 20 ties under Babcock and qualifies for the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of his two seasons.

2002-03 -- Babcock gets his first NHL job when he's hired as coach of the Mighty Ducks on May 22, 2002. He guides Anaheim to its best season in history in 2002-03, going 40-27-6 with nine ties. The Mighty Ducks upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and advance to Game 7 of the Final before losing to the New Jersey Devils.

2003-04 -- The Mighty Ducks fail to qualify for the playoffs. With his team out of the postseason, Babcock is selected to coach Canada at the IIHF World Championship in Prague. Canada defeats Sweden to win the tournament, making Babcock the first coach to lead Canada to first place at the World Juniors and the World Championship.

2005 -- Named coach of the Red Wings on July 15, 2005. Detroit wins the Presidents' Trophy in his first season but is upset by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs. Detroit finishes first in the Western Conference in 2006-07 but loses to the Anaheim Ducks in the conference final.

2007-08 -- After winning the Presidents' Trophy for the second time in three seasons under Babcock, the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup for the 11th time in their history and the fourth time since 1997. They defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the Final.

2008-09 -- The Red Wings return to the Cup Final but lose a seven-game rematch to the Penguins.

2010 -- Babcock guides Canada to the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, capped by a 3-2 overtime victory against the United States in the championship game. He becomes the first coach to join the Triple Gold Club, whose members have won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship.

2014 -- Coaches Canada to a second straight gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Canada allows three goals while going 6-0 and defeats Sweden in the championship game.

2014-15 -- Babcock guides the Red Wings to their 24th consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and their 10th in his 10 seasons. However, they lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round. That series ends April 29; on May 20, he's hired as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Babcock, who goes 458-223-105 with the Red Wings, joins one of his former players, Brendan Shanahan, who's now president of the Maple Leafs.

2015-16 -- Babcock finishes his worst season as an NHL coach when the Maple Leafs go 29-42-11, ending up last in the 30-team League. However, Toronto wins the NHL Draft Lottery and selects center Auston Matthews with the No. 1 pick.

2016 -- Coaches Canada to the gold medal in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in Toronto. Canada goes 6-0 in tournament, defeating Team Europe in final.

2016-17 -- With Matthews winning the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL and serving as the centerpiece of a talented young core, the Maple Leafs finish 40-27-15, fourth in the Atlantic Division. It's enough to make the playoffs for the second time since 2003-04, although the Maple Leafs lose to the Washington Capitals in six games in the Eastern Conference First Round.

2017-18 -- The Maple Leafs finish 49-26-7; the 49 wins and 105 points are the most in their history. They finish third in the Atlantic Division and lose to the Boston Bruins in seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round. Toronto takes a 4-3 lead into the third period of Game 7, only to allow four goals in a 7-4 loss. A few days after the Game 7 loss, Babcock and Matthews each shoot down a report there is a rift between them. 

2018-19 -- Toronto finishes 46-28-8, giving the Maple Leafs back-to-back 100-point seasons for the first time in their history. However, another third-place finish in the division sets up a rematch with the Bruins, who again win Game 7 at home. Near the end of the regular season, Babcock announces he and GM Kyle Dubas had a meeting to discuss speculation that a rift had developed between them. 

2019-20 -- The Maple Leafs are 9-10-4 and are winless in six games (0-5-1) when Babcock is fired on Nov. 20, 2019. He is replaced by Sheldon Keefe, who has been coaching Toronto's AHL team. Babcock finishes 173-133-45 with the Maple Leafs. His final victory with Toronto, 2-1 in overtime against the Vegas Golden Knights at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 7, makes him the eighth coach in NHL history to win 700 games.

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