Prominent hockey coach charged with sex crimes

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
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Rick Babstock arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting boy almost 40 years ago

For more than four decades, he helped thousands of kids across the province hone their skills on the ice.

On Tuesday, well-known St. John's hockey coach Rick Babstock was in handcuffs, facing charges of sexually assaulting a boy almost 40 years ago.

Well-known hockey coach and Newfoundland hockey hall of famer Rick Babstock is led out of provincial court in St. John's Tuesday afternoon. - Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

For more than four decades, he helped thousands of kids across the province hone their skills on the ice.

On Tuesday, well-known St. John's hockey coach Rick Babstock was in handcuffs, facing charges of sexually assaulting a boy almost 40 years ago.

Babstock - who was inducted into the Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame in 2002 - was arrested early Tuesday and was brought to provincial court for a late afternoon appearance.

The 57-year-old said nothing as Judge Robert Hyslop read the charges - indecent assault and gross indecency, charges which were later replaced in the Criminal Code of Canada as sexual assault.

The incidents are alleged to have happened between August and September 1971 in Placentia.

The judge agreed to release Babstock from jail with the conditions that he have no contact with the complainant and have no contact with anyone under the age of 16 unless in the company of a person 25 years or older.

He's due back in court March 9.

Sitting quietly on the bench in the prisoner's dock in court is a far cry from the many team benches he's stood behind shouting instructions to players over the years.

Babstock is considered to have been one of the most influential and successful minor hockey coaches in the province, having helped develop some of Newfoundland's most elite young players.

Past and present NHL players, including Ryan Clowe, Harold Druken and Ted Purcell, have played under his direction.

Babstock also coached the Newfoundland teams at the Canada Winter Games and was a part of the coaching staff for Team Atlantic at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

He's best known as the former long-time coach of the St. John's AAA midget team, which has won a number of provincial and Atlantic championships, as well as a national bronze medal.

He also coached several minor, high school and junior teams to championships and was twice named Newfoundland's top sports coach.

Before he took up coaching, Babstock was also a successful player.

A rugged and talented defenceman, he was an all-star defenceman in the old Newfoundland Senior Hockey League with the St. John's Capitals and Blue Caps.

He also played intercollegiate hockey with Acadia University and was once offered a tryout with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Upon retirement in the 1970s, he ran a successful hockey school for decades.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador Hall, NHL, Newfoundland Senior Hockey League Acadia University Toronto Maple Leafs

Geographic location: St. John's, Canada, Newfoundland Placentia

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