Longtime junior hockey coach Don Babineau is heading west for the 2023-24 season. He’ll lead the Yellowstone Quake of the North American 3 Hockey League. Babineau takes the riens after Ryan Theros was recently named head coach of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
Babineau (New Hope, Minnesota) and Theros are no strangers, having first been on opposite sides in 2001-02. Babineau was a first-year coach in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League with the Northwest Wisconsin Knights while Theros was playing in his final junior year with the Iron Range Yellowjackets who won the league title. Babineau was named MNJHL Coach of the Year that season.
“There are some big shoes to fill with Coach Theros moving on to the NAHL,” Babineau said. “I’ve known Ryan for many years and no doubt he will do big things in Fairbanks.”
Over the past two decades Babineau has led several teams at the Tier III level including stops with the St. Paul Lakers, Hudson Crusaders, and Maple Grove Energy of the MNJHL.
Yellowstone will be the fourth stint in the NA3HL. In 2015 Babineau headed south to lead the Euless Jr. Stars (NA3HL) for two seasons, but returned to his home turf in 2019 to guide the Coulee Region Chill for their final season before the team was sold and relocated. Babineau then led the Oregon Tradesmen during their expansion season of 2020-21.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of the Quake organization,” added Babineau. “With a great foundation in place, I feel this is a great hockey destination. I’d like to thank the Yellowstone Quake organization for the opportunity. No doubt there are big things to come.”
With the tender period passed as well as the NA3HL Draft, Babineau will be spending the summer months recruiting to round out the Quake roster.
“I am excited to get started and continue to build this team into a championship contender. I’ve heard nothing but good things out of the division and have some history with a lot of coaches so it should be a fun ride.”
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