The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Mike Babcock as their head coach.
Babcock had spent the last ten years as the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and was highly sought after with his contract expiring this summer. Multiple teams had asked the Red Wings for permission to talk to Babcock about their coaching vacancies, with Babcock reportedly having narrowed it down to a return to Detroit or the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday a bidding war erupted between the Sabres and the Maple Leafs. One by one, the Sabres, Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and San Jose Sharks confirmed that they were out of the running, with only the Maple Leafs remaining.
The Maple Leafs announced Babcock’s hiring shortly after, with a press conference scheduled for 11:00 AM on Thursday.
Babcock’s deal with Toronto is reportedly worth $50 million over eight seasons, the largest contract for a coach in NHL history.
In ten seasons with the Red Wings, Babcock coached the team to a 458-223-105 record. His teams were 67-56 in the postseason. Babcock lead Detroit to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2008, another Finals appearance in 2009, and regular season championships in 2006 and 2008.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland is expected to address the media about Babcock’s departure on Wednesday afternoon.