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Ivey faculty enjoy success behind the bench

  • Declan Kelly
  • |
  • Nov 27, 2017
Ivey faculty enjoy success behind the bench

Mustangs co-coaches and Ivey faculty members Chris Higgins (third from left in back row) and Dave Barrett (second from right in third row) celebrate winning the 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in women’s hockey. Also a member of that team was Sydney Kidd, MSc ’17 (at right in back row), who now plays for the Toronto Furies.

Ivey’s connections to elite-level hockey are not limited to alumni currently working in some aspect of the game, but also extend to faculty who have coached and scouted in top leagues.

Dave Barrett, MBA ’04 and PhD ’14, has straddled all three categories in recent years. The assistant professor of Operations Management served as co-head coach of the Western Mustangs Women’s team for the 2014-15 season while completing his PhD and teaching at both Ivey and Western’s DAN School of Management.

Barrett and his co-coach and then faculty colleague Chris Higgins, Professor Emeritus of Information Systems, led the Mustangs to the CIS title in 2015.

Western’s first women’s national championship marked the culmination of a program overhaul that Higgins began when he assumed the solo head coach role in 2010. Barrett took over as head coach for the 2015-2016 season, before passing the baton to current coach Kelly Paton, which has allowed him to focus on his role as Executive Director of the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation.

Since retiring from Ivey and coaching at Western, Higgins has assumed the role of regional scout for Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Program.

Barrett sees many natural cross-overs between preparing young players for success on the ice and the unique team dynamic at Ivey that gives students the confidence to do well in business.

“Shaping the environment that they work in and what they think about themselves is a lot of what we do here at Ivey,” Barrett says. “It’s creating that culture – you bring good hockey players in and you have to shape them into a unified force. It’s the same here, too.”

Barrett isn’t surprised to see a growing contingent of former elite-level players doing well in the classroom – and in their careers – after hanging up their skates.

“I think that the reasons you play team sports and the lessons that you take from team sports help you in your business career,” Barrett adds. “Those are transferable here.”