Celebrating the life of Clare Drake

Watch the ceremony held on Thursday, June 14, at the Universiade Pavilion in honour of the remarkable life and legacy of Clare Drake.

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Clare Drake's Coaching Legacy

For 28 seasons, Coach Drake led the University of Alberta Golden Bears to an astonishing six national championships and 17 conference championships on his way to becoming, at his retirement in 1989, the winningest hockey coach in Canadian Interuniversity Sport history. He is now a member of the Order of Canada, an official inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame and a major league mentor to many notable (and Stanley Cup-winning) coaches and players.

Failures in sport are the things that educate us. Winning is the healthy outcome of the ongoing process of hard work and character development.

Clare Drake

coached the U of A Golden Bears hockey team for 28 seasons, starting in 1958. Over the ensuing three decades, the Yorkton, Sask. native led the Golden Bears to an unmatched six national championships and 17 conference championships. He was named the conference and national men’s hockey head coach of the year four times.

When he retired in 1989, he held a 697-296-37 overall record (a .695 winning percentage) – at the time, the most wins by any coach in UAlberta history.

He also coached at the professional and national level, spending two seasons as coach of the WHA Edmonton Oilers (1975-1976), and spent time with the Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars as assistant coach. He co-coached the 1980 Canadian Men’s Olympic Team, earned three medals coaching at the World Student Games, and led Canada to its first-ever Spengler Cup Gold Medal in 1984.

Success is not a natural phenomena.
Success only occurs to people that are willing to put the time in to achieve it.

He also guided the Golden Bears football team to a national championship in 1968, and is the only coach to win Canadian university hockey and football championships in the same season.

But above all the wins, championships and awards, his legacy is his contribution to the discipline of coaching itself. His approach and techniques were revolutionary at the time, and had a deep impact that lives on in the work of modern coaches who to this day regard Drake as mentor and innovator.

He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame. UAlberta's varsity ice rink was named after Drake in 1990.

Clare Drake

Drake's coaching record with the U of A Golden Bears was an astonishing 697-296-37, a .695 winning percentage.

Drake's coaching record with the U of A Golden Bears was an astonishing 697-296-37, a .695 winning percentage.

Treaty 6 honours for Clare Drake

At a special ceremony in November, in advance of his induction into the Hall of Fame, alumnus and former Golden Bears player Chief Wilton Littlechild, Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, presented Drake with a ceremonial headdress in honour of his contributions to the game of hockey.

“My tribe agreed to honour him by giving him a Cree name in a ceremony, but went one step further by naming him an honorary chief for Treaty 6. It’s a very special occasion for us to add onto his recognition from the Hall of Fame.”

Drake was given the Cree name “Spotted Eagle,” along with the honorary title "Chief Golden Bear".

Hockey Hall of Fame

Video recap of the on-ice celebration Nov. 11 commemorating the 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame induction.

Recap of the special on-ice celebration Nov. 11 commemorating the 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame induction.

Clare Drake inducted Video

2017 Hockey Hall of Fame announcement

Drake has been inducted into the 2017 Class of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category, along with fellow 2017 inductees Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Danielle Goyette, and fellow builder Jeremy Jacobs.

He was among the very first to apply professional standards to coaching in our game. He helped define the game. His innovative, analytical brain helped turn hockey from shinny into the organized, patterned-yet-still-creative sport we see today.

-Ken Hitchcock, Dallas Stars head coach, currently third in all-time NHL regular season coaching wins.

Ken Hitchcock, Dave King and others explain why Clare Drake is going into the Hockey Hall of Fame

U of A coach's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame is well deserved, say several hockey luminaries whose successful careers were shaped by his influence.

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Clare Drake with Steve Yzerman and France St-Louis at their induction into the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2014.

It's amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.

- Drake’s favourite motto

National Championships

As a player



Clare Drake's a great man who had a huge impact on players, but maybe even a bigger impact on coaching and people in that profession. I really believe he gave guys like me a chance.

- Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach, Team Canada Olympic gold medal winning coach, 2010 and 2014.

Coaching Awards

CIAU Coach Of The Year
Canada West Coach Of The Year
Geoff Gowan Award Coaching Association of Canada

Other Championships

World student games silver medal
World Student Games Gold Medal
Spengler Cup Gold Medal
World Student Games Bronze Medal

You keep learning as long as you can, and when you're through learning, you're through.

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada 

Clare Drake

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada: The Legend of Clare Drake

In this Hockey Night in Canada feature, Randy Gregg, Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock discuss the immense impact the coaches' coach has had on the game of hockey.

Hockey Hints with Clare Drake

Hockey Hints with Clare Drake

A rare 1960 instructional film from the Government of Alberta Department of Youth, hosted and narrated by Drake and showcasing the U of A Golden Bears.

His legacy is not simply the numerous national championships that he coached, but rather the wide scope of individuals that he touched with his unending passion to the sport and his community.

- Randy Gregg, five time Stanley Cup champion with the Edmonton Oilers, and Golden Bears hockey alumni