Hockey Hall of Fame coach Clare Drake died on Saturday at the age of 89.
Drake coached the University of Alberta Golden Bears to six Canadian university men’s hockey championships and 17 Canada West conference championships.
“It is a sad day for Golden Bears Hockey. Last night we lost Coach Drake. At this time, we would like to extend our condolences to his wife Dolly and the rest of his family. What Clare Drake did for the game of hockey is truly staggering. You will never be forgotten Coach,” said a tweet from the school on Sunday, announcing Drake’s death.
Drake was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 in the builder category. Beyond his championships in 28 years at the University of Alberta, Drake influenced a generation of future NHL coaches, including Ken Hitchcock, Mike Babcock and Barry Trotz.
“He shared everything he knew with you, and he used it all against you when he competed,” said Hitchcock before Drake was inducted into the Hall of Fame in November. “You couldn’t find a guy that meant more to the game of hockey in Canada than Clare Drake.”
Drake was teaching and coaching several teams at Strathcona Composite High School in 1955 when he joined the Golden Bears as interim head coach and won his first league championship.
Three years later, he was appointed to become full-time head coach of the Golden Bears. By the time he retired in 1989, he had 697 wins, 296 losses and 37 ties with a .695 win percentage.
Drake took a break from the University of Alberta in 1975 and 1976 to coach the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association and was also co-coach of the 1980 Canadian Olympic hockey team. He was also an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets in 1988-89.
“Coach Drake’s fingerprints are all over hockey in this country. A true gentleman and kind soul. Very fortunate to have been one of the many players coached by him,” tweeted four-time Olympic gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser.
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