The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) announced today that Clare Drake of Edmonton, the “dean” of Canadian intercollegiate hockey coaches, is the recipient of this year's Geoff Gowan Award for his lifetime contribution to coaching development.
Clare built his coaching philosophy on the expression, “We, Not Me!” and has exemplified this in all of his endeavours.
A gifted educator who was for many years a professor in the Faculty of Physical Education at the University of Alberta, Clare wrote numerous research articles on the technical aspects of hockey, lent his expertise to a variety of educational hockey films and videos, and provided enlightened leadership to Hockey Canada's coach education initiatives. His writings formed the basis of hockey's first National Coaching Certification Program and for the past 30 years, he has supported its delivery through innumerable clinics and conferences at home and throughout North America, Europe, the Orient, and Australia.
As a developer of the National Coach Mentorship Program and a committed mentor, Clare has touched the lives of many of Canada's most illustrious hockey coaches. In retirement, his mentoring continues and among the beneficiaries has been the national women's hockey program.
Clare is, above all, a hands-on coach. His coaching experience includes minor hockey in Saskatchewan and Alberta, professional hockey in Europe, and Olympic hockey with Team Canada in 1980. He coached Team Canada to a Spengler Cup gold medal and has held coaching and technical consultant positions with the Edmonton Oilers, the Winnipeg Jets, the Dallas Stars, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Calgary Flames.
But it is as a university coach that Clare has made an indelible mark. Often referred to as
the “dean” of Canadian intercollegiate hockey coaches, he transformed the University of Alberta's Golden
Bears into the best collegiate program in the country. In his 28-year tenure, the team posted a
record-breaking 697 wins, 296 losses, and 37 ties, and won six University Cup titles and 17 Canada West
conference championships. Most remarkably, in a feat that may never be equaled, he led the Golden Bears
hockey and football squads to the University Cup and Vanier Cup championships in the 1967-68 season.
Clare's contribution has not gone unrecognized. The Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Rookie of the Year Award and the Golden Bears rink are named in his honour. Other honours include induction into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Alberta's Distinguished Alumni Award, an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university, and most recently, he was the first coach to be inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame.
Dr. Geoff Gowan, for whom the award is named, is a former athlete and track and field, soccer, and rugby coach. He was president of CAC for sixteen years. Dr. Gowan has also been a popular and respected colour commentator for CBC's track and field coverage for 25 years.