'It’s a lot of fun': Mike Babcock brings U of S team to Saskatoon neighbourhood rink

Angela Jones says she couldn’t be happier about a high-profile appearance at her neighbourhood's outdoor rink.

Mike Babcock, a former NHL coach who now coaches the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, brought his team to the Varsity View community rink on Wednesday.

“To see these guys here enjoying themselves and thinking the ice is really great for skating and having Mike Babcock is really neat,” said Jones, a member of the local community association.

The community association completed a $70,000 rink refurbishment in October thanks to fundraisers and donations.

Babcock thought to bring his team to the rink to enjoy a scrimmage because he lives in the neighbourhood and was impressed by what he saw.

“I just know by walking around this neighbourhood when it’s not minus 27, this rink is jammed and lots of people enjoy it,” Babcock told CTV News.

With new boards, lights and fencing it was the perfect choice for this coach to get back to the roots of Canadian hockey.

“Well, the big thing is this is how they all started and it’s a lot of fun to be out here. It will be a good team builder for us,” Babcock said.

Player Connor Hobbs is no stranger to this rink.

“It’s awesome. I spent some time on this rink as a kid.”

This game doesn’t mean anything in the league standings, where the Huskies are in third place, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t competitive.

“It’s supposed to be fun but today we have a little extra on the line. Bragging rights in the room makes for a good competition, a healthy competition,” Hobbs said.

So while this was just a fun way to fit in a practice, Babcock reminded his team of the unique rules.

“See those cars in front of those houses over there boys? You put a hole in one, you pay.”

Dozens of students from Brunskill school were able to watch the game once school wrapped up.