Clare Drake appointed to Order of Hockey in Canada

    Clare Drake named to Order of Hockey in Canada

    By Matt Gutsch with files from Hockey Canada on January 29, 2014

    Hockey Canada announced Wednesday the names of the distinguished individuals who have been named to the Order of Hockey in Canada and among the names is former University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey head coach Clare Drake.

    Drake was unveiled as one of the 2014 inductees on Wednesday, and he joins such hockey luminaries as Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Mark Messier, Dave King and Paul Henderson. The 2014 honourees will be celebrated at the Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Classic, scheduled for June 23-24 in Vancouver.

    The Order of Hockey in Canada was introduced by Hockey Canada in 2012; the program annually honours up to three individuals who’s 'role or service in the game is recognized as extraordinary' in Canada.

    It is the second national level honour bestowed upon Clare in as many years. In 2013, Drake was appointed a member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General.

    The long-time Edmonton resident has coached hockey at various levels in Canada, including with the Edmonton Oilers, of the World Hockey Association, and with the Canadian National Team, and has influenced countless coaches, players and modern coaching disciplines at all levels of the sport. He is most renowned for having coached the U of A Golden Bears hockey program, which is the most successful men’s university hockey program in Canada. As the Bears’ bench boss for 28 years (1958-1975, 1976-79, 1980-1983 and 1984-1989) “Coach” Clare Drake recorded 697 wins, which still stands as a Canadian university record, against 296 loss and 37 ties, for a .695 winning percentage. 

    Drake was also a gifted educator who was for many years a professor in the Faculty of Physical Education at the U of A. He wrote numerous research articles on the technical aspects of hockey, lent his expertise to a variety of educational hockey films and videos, and provided enlightened leadership to Hockey Canada’s coach education initiatives. His writings formed the basis of hockey’s first National Coaching Certification Program, and he has supported its delivery through innumerable clinics and conferences at home and throughout North America, Europe, the Orient, and Australia. He is also a developer of the National Coach Mentorship Program, a committed mentor, and a hands-on university coach, often referred to as the “dean” of Canadian intercollegiate hockey coaches. 

    He won six national championships as coach of the Bears hockey program, and a seventh as a player with the Bears in 1954. His most successful season as a U of A coach came during the 1967-1968 season when he guided the Golden Bears football team to a national championship trophy in the fall of 1968, and then led the Bears hockey team to the national title in the winter of 1968. Drake also guided the Bears to 17 Canada West hockey championships.

    He twice was honoured as the Canadian university coach of the year, and he won the Canada West conference coach of the year award four times. He served as the co-coach of Canada’s 1980 Olympic hockey team, and he guided Canada’s teams to gold at the Winter Universiade and a Spengler Cup tournament.

    His list of coaching awards also includes the 3M Gordon Juckes Award from Hockey Canada and the Geoff Gowan Award from the Coaching Association of Canada. He has received an honourary doctor of laws degree from the U of A, as well as the U of A’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Alberta Centennial Medal and the Alberta Order of Excellence. He is a member of the U of A, UBC, Edmonton, Alberta and Canadian Sports Halls of Fame and is a honourary member for life of the Alberta Football Coaches Association.

    The list of prominent Canadian hockey people that Drake has influenced includes NHL Stanley Cup championship coaches, and Canadian Olympic gold medalist coaches, Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock, as well as Hockey Hall of Fame member, and six-time Stanley Cup champion Glenn Anderson.

    Upon his retirement in 1989, the University of Alberta dedicated Varsity Arena to Drake and renamed it Clare Drake Arena in 1990.

    His career and influence was chronicled in the book Clare Drake, The Coaches’ Coach (


    Candidates for election as distinguished honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada shall be chosen ‘on the basis of their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport of hockey in Canada, which may include players, coaches, officials, administrators, executives, trainers, physicians, inventors or any other person whose role or service in the game is recognized as extraordinary.’

    Candidates are eligible as long as they have concluded their career as an active player or official, if either is applicable, for a minimum of five playing seasons before their election. All other candidates may be either active or inactive at the time of his or her selection. However, there will be no posthumous appointments to the Order of Hockey in Canada.


    A selection committee of 12 members was appointed by the Order of Hockey in Canada executive committee, which was established by Hockey Canada. The selection committee members, representing a cross-section of individuals with great and varied experience around the game of hockey in Canada, have been selected for a three-year term and can serve for a maximum of nine years. Each committee member can only bring forward one name as an official nomination for consideration annually.For 2012, the executive committee directed the selection committee to elect a maximum of five recipients by an affirmative vote of at least 75 per cent. Going forward, the maximum will be three recipients annually.

    The entire selection process is confidential, and the names of those candidates not selected will not be disclosed.

    OHC executive committee: Murray Costello, Jeff Denomme, Grant Fagerheim, Jim Hornell and Bob Nicholson
    OHC selection committee: Jim Treliving (chairman), Gilles Courteau, Joe Drago, Pierre LeBrun, Roy MacGregor, Bob McKenzie, Pat Quinn, Glen Sather, Danièle Sauvageau, Scott Smith and Donna Spencer.