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Mayhew, Babcock connect for postgame selfie

Michigan native played prep hockey against son of Maple Leafs head coach

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

MONTREAL -- The moments following the Wild's 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Center were a little crazy for Wild forward Gerry Mayhew, who had only a few minutes to meet with more than a dozen friends and family before walking to the bus and catching the team's flight to Montreal. 

In the hectic aftermath of the arena, Mayhew got changed, chatted with his contingent and addressed the media. But before leaving town, there was one more person who wanted a minute of his time.

It was Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock.

Earlier in the day, Babcock's son, Michael, who is currently playing professionally in France, texted his dad to let him know about Mayhew and the potential of him making his NHL debut that night in Toronto.

Video: Mayhew nets first NHL goal

A native of Wyandotte, Michigan, Mayhew and Michael Babcock played high school hockey against each other in Michigan when Mike Babcock was coach of the Detroit Red Wings. 

Michael Babcock is two years younger than Mayhew, but played his prep hockey at Detroit Catholic Central while Mayhew played at Wyandotte Roosevelt. 

The two also played pick-up hockey together for years and were teammates briefly with the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the United States Hockey League in 2012-13. 

Most of Michigan's top prep-aged players choose to play midget AAA hockey, not high school. Mayhew's ascension to the NHL is a rare one, which is why Michael Babcock reached out to his dad in the first place.

Mike remembered watching Mayhew playing with and against his son back in Michigan. 

Video: MIN@TOR: Mayhew scores first NHL goal in debut

"It's a great story," Mike Babcock said. "This kid's a good kid. He's worked real hard. No one would probably expect him to be here. And, you know I hate to say it but I'm even glad he scored last night to tell you the truth."

Before going to the media room for his normal post-game scrum, Mike Babcock wanted to find Mayhew, congratulate him and send proof to his son that he got a chance to see him.

So he took out his phone and snapped a selfie with the rookie forward and texted it to Michael.

"It was a good moment," Babcock said. "[Michael] was pumped for him."

Central is one of the blue bloods of Michigan high school hockey, while Roosevelt was an underdog the year Mayhew led the team to the championship. 

Still, Mayhew said he was a little surprised to see the Maple Leafs coach looking for him after the game.

"I didn't think he'd remember me," Mayhew said. "But he's a really nice guy and he came over and congratulated me, asked if my parents were around because he knows them as well. Just took a selfie with him and that was that."

It certainly was a humbling moment as well for Mayhew, who grew up a big Red Wings fan when Babcock was the coach of the team. 

But a veteran coach of more than 1,200 games behind the bench in search of a 26-year-old rookie who just completed his first game? And asking for a selfie no less?

That's something that doesn't happen every day.

"Pretty random," said Mayhew, who was clearly touched by the gesture. "You don't come to the rink thinking the opposing coach is going to take a selfie with you. But it's pretty cool."

"It was pretty awesome. It just goes to show that hockey is more than just a business. There's a lot of friendships too."

Steve Keogh and Aaron Sickman contributed to this story

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