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NHL-Maple Leafs hire Babcock as new head coach

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May 20 (Reuters) - The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Mike Babcock sweepstakes on Wednesday by beating out a handful of teams that tried to land the highly-coveted head coach who spent the last 10 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed in a statement by the Maple Leafs but the team reportedly offered Babcock a mammoth eight-year contract worth $50 million that would make him the National Hockey League's highest-paid coach.

Babcock, considered one of the most accomplished active coaches in the league, succeeds Peter Horachek, who filled in on an interim basis after Randy Carlyle was fired in January when Toronto fell out of playoff contention.

A number of teams courted Babcock and it reportedly came down to Toronto, St. Louis, San Jose, Buffalo and Detroit. His contract with Detroit expires next month and the team offered him a five-year deal worth $4 million per season.

Because Babcock is still under contract with the Red Wings, Toronto have to give up a third-round draft pick within the next three years as compensation to Detroit for signing the coach. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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