Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, two-time Olympic champion Danielle Goyette and former NHL forward Ryan Smyth were named Order of Hockey in Canada honourees on Tuesday.
The Hockey Canada initiative celebrates individuals for their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport.
“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 Hockey Canada chief executive officer Tom Renney. “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.”
Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008. As Team Canada coach, he has won gold at the Winter Olympics, world championship, world junior championship and World Cup of Hockey.
Goyette, from St-Nazaire, Que., was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Hockey Hall of Fame last year. The University of Calgary Dinos women’s hockey coach won eight world titles over her 15-year playing career with the national program.
“When you represent your country, I don’t think you can have a better feeling than that,” Goyette said.
Smyth, from Banff, Alta., served as Canada captain on six occasions at the world championship. He won a pair of world titles, Olympic gold, world junior gold, World Cup gold and a Spengler Cup title over his career.
Smyth had 842 points in 1,270 NHL games over 19 seasons with Edmonton, the New York Islanders, Colorado, and Los Angeles.
A selection committee of 12 members nominates and selects the honourees via secret ballot. Honourees will be recognized June 18-19 at a gala in London, Ont.