The University of Alberta Athletics department will be hosting a special ceremony to honour former Golden Bears hockey coach Clare Drake’s upcoming induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place before the Golden Bears game vs Lethbridge on November 11th, at 5:00 p.m. at Clare Drake Arena.
Clare, his wife Dolly and daughter Jami, along with former Golden Bears hockey captains Randy Gregg, John Devaney, Austin Smith, Jim Ofrim, and Kevin Primeau will be on the ice for the pre-game ceremony. Along with the Drake family and the former Golden Bears captains, Bears alumnus Grand Chief Dr. Wilton Littlechild will also be in attendance for the ceremony.
A new banner will be unveiled in Clare Drake Arena highlighting all of Drake’s career accomplishments, including his Hockey Hall of Fame induction. Following the banner raising, Littlechild and other members of the Treaty Six First Nations will present Drake with a ceremonial First Nations Headdress.
The ‘Coaches Coach’ will be inducted as a Builder into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 13th in Toronto. He will be inducted alongside former NHL players Teemu Selanne, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Paul Kariya, as well as former Team Canada women’s player, and current Calgary Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette, and former Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. While Clare himself will be unable to attend the induction ceremony in Toronto, members of his family, including Jami, Dolly, and his grandson Mike Gabinet, as well as long-time friend and former Bears head coach Bill Moores will represent Clare.
"From an Athletics perspective, you just look at the success that Clare Drake created in men's hockey and you try to identify what made them so successful and emulate that in all your other programs." said UAlberta Athletics Director Ian Reade. "A strong team culture built on work ethic and selflessness; education at the core of everything the coach does; building the tradition; graduating very successful student athletes that create a supportive alumni; those are the things Clare did, and what we all strive for at the University of Alberta."
"I don't think you can have a much stronger coaching legacy than to have other coaches want to be like you. Clare Drake deserves every honor he receives, and we are so proud to host a celebration in his honour this weekend."
While his coaching numbers speak for themselves - 28 seasons, 697 wins, 6 national championships, 17 conference championships, numerous coach of the year awards - it was always Drake's impact on his players and other coaches that he is most known for. The vines from Drake to other coaches, both at the University and elsewhere, are seemingly endless. Not only did he have a direct impact on so many, his style and approach changed the game, with its impact reaching every level of hockey.
"I am one of the many very fortunate people to have Clare Drake as a friend and mentor throughout my career." said former Golden Bear (1989-1994), and current team general manager Stan Marple. "Coach Drake was an innovative teacher of the game, who was ahead of his time and helped the game of hockey develop worldwide, over many decades. His excellent relationship with Hockey Canada and his willingness to share his knowledge of the game with others, including his peers, was groundbreaking."
"Perhaps what I admire the most about Coach Drake is how he always found a way to push or make his players better. He made them better players and better people. He accomplished this by leading by example." continued Marple, who was originally recruited to the Bears by Drake in the late 80's. "Throughout his career he was a great communicator, who always treated his players and his colleagues and peers with fairness and respect. Because of this, he was able to develop his players to be the best they were capable of becoming. This is evident through success he accomplished on and off the ice, as a very well respected coach and teacher."
Current Bears coach Serge Lajoie, Pandas head coach Howie Draper, Billy Moores, Marple, and so many more well-known coaches such as Melody Davidson and Ken Hitchcock are some of the talented coaches to have their roots trace back to Drake.
"For me, he is the epitome of a guy who just loved to teach and loved to coach." said Hitchcock, the Dallas Stars head coach.
While his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame may be his most notable accomplishment, it's far from his first. Drake has been inducted into the Alberta Sports Wall of Fame (1980), University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame (1987), Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (1989), Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (2005), and has received both the Order of Canada (2013), and the Order of Hockey in Canada (2014).