Breaking: Babcock receives highest honour from Hockey Canada

Well deserved and definitely earned. Congrats, coach!

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Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, along with distinguished women’s hockey player Danielle Goyette and retired NHLer Ryan Smyth have been named the 2018 Distinguished Honourees for the Order of Hockey in Canada. The trio will be recognized for their contributions to the sport in their home country at a special ceremony and gala in London, Ontario later this year.

Babcock’s accomplishments in hockey are well documented. He’s a Stanley Cup champion, a two-time Stanley Cup finalist, a two time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time Jack Adams Award winner and is the only coach in the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club - having won gold at the Olympics and the IIHF World Championships, as well as a Stanley Cup championship.

“As players and coaches, this group has led the way on and off the ice, teaching and inspiring Canadian players at all levels of the game,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “To be selected as a Distinguished Honouree of the Order of Hockey in Canada is one of the most prestigious accomplishments one can receive in hockey in Canada, and this year’s honourees are well-deserving of the recognition. On behalf of my colleagues at Hockey Canada, the Order of Hockey in Canada selection committee, as well as our board members, I would like to congratulate Danielle, Mike, and Ryan, and we look forward to celebrating them in London on June 18.”

Congrats, coach! You’ve earned it!

Transaction Alert: Leafs swap Gauthier for Kapanen

In other Leafs news, the team has officially recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Incidentally, the team has also assigned center Frederik Gauthier back to the Marlies.

The 21-year-old Kapanen has played just six games for the Leafs this season, earning two goals. But he’s put up an impressive 12 goals and 22 points in 27 games with the Marlies. Now that he’s back to full health, look for him to get a shot on a scoring line with the Leafs, perhaps in Leo Komarov’s spot alongside Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau.

As for Gauthier, the big centre scored just one goal in his nine game stint with the Leafs where he was used mostly in a fourth line role. The 6’5”, 232 lb pivot has looked slow and sluggish at certain points during his audition, but hopefully he can find some confidence in his game at the AHL level.