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Coaching legend and Hall of Famer passes away suddenly

RIP. Gone, but never forgotten.

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According to a report from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, legendary Canadian hockey coach Clare Drake has passed away at age 89.

Clare Drake, who taught so many hockey coaches so many things, passed away in his sleep this morning at 89. Coach Drake was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year in the builder's category. Sympathies to Dolly, Debbie and Jamie

Drake was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 for his contributions to the sport over four decades. The “dean of coaching”  is unanimously considered to be the most successful coaching in Canadian University history. Over 28 years as the head coach of the University of Albera Golden Bears, Drake captured six University Cup championships and 17 Canada West conference championships.

Behind the scenes Drake was instrumental in helping to create and develop the National Coaching Certification program for minor, amateur and pro hockey coaches in Canada. He also helped establish the Coach Mentorship Program, as well.

The Yorktown, Saskatchewan native strayed from University hockey only briefly, once to coach the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers during the 1975-76 season, once to coach Team Canada at the 1980 Winter Olympics and once to coach Team Canada to a gold medal victory at the Sepngler Cup in 1983. Drake retired from coaching in 1989 with the North American intercollegiate record for career wins with 697. Put simply, he was the greatest coach in college hockey history.

Drake’s name and legacy of excellence will live on forever. The Golden Bears play their home games at Clare Drake Arena on the U of A’s main campus. Additionally, the Clare Drake Award is given annually to the Canadian college hockey’s top rookie.

Among his incredible accomplishments are:

  • Named the CIAU Hockey Coach of the Year in 1975 and 1988
  • Co-coach of the Canadian Men's Olympic team
  • Head coach of Team Canada at Spengler Cup Tournament (Gold Medal)
  • Hockey Alberta Centennial Award
  • Order of Hockey in Canada
  • Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 as a builder

Rest in peace, Clare Drake. You may be gone, but you’ll never be forgotten. Thank you for your incredible contributions to this incredible game.