The highest-paid coach in the NHL will be back on a staff next season but not at the professional level. Mike Babcock has taken a volunteer position as an “advisor” with the University of Vermont’s coaching staff. Babcock joins head coach Todd Woodcroft and assistants Jeff Hill and former NHL defenseman Mark Stuart.
Babcock will not be paid by Vermont but still receives his salary from the Toronto Maple Leafs after he was fired as head coach earlier this season. The veteran coach is still under contract through the 2022-23 season, though a new position in the NHL could take over part of that deal or buy it out completely.
For now, he’ll help shepherd the young men coming through the college level. Babcock does have experience with student-athletes from his days as head coach of the University of Lethbridge in 1993-94.
The Vermont press release terms Babcock’s role as “a resource for the coaching staff, lending his experience and perspective as one of the top hockey minds in the world.” He has previous experience with Woodcroft form their time together with Team Canada in 2004, when they won a gold medal as part of the coaching staff at the IIHF World Championship. At that tournament, however, Babcock was the head coach and Woodcroft just a video coach. Things will be different this time around.