In a way, Don Babineau couldn't help himself. Not this time. This was just too good to be true.
For each of the past 13 winters, the 34-year old has found a way to coach in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
It started when he accepted a coaching position with the Minnesota Owls, which was same team he played for as a junior hockey standout almost two decades ago.
It continued with stints in Spooner, Wis., and with the then St. Paul Lakers, and eventually with the Hudson Crusaders, where Babineau coached for each of the past five years.
Now, he's finally found the one thing none of those previous opportunities offered - a job close to home.
Babineau, who lives in New Hope, Minn., has assumed the head coaching responsibilities with the Maple Grove Energy, a franchise that plays its home games just seven miles off his back porch.
A father of two, including a soon-to-be senior at nearby Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Babineau said he's coveted this type of chance for years - one that gives him an opportunity to be close to home and still run a junior hockey team - and he's intent on taking advantage of the situation.
"It's just perfect," Babineau said. "There was an opening, it was close to my house, I know the whole staff and I trust what they have going on for their long term plans. I wanted to get back to head coaching, and then this comes up. It's like it was meant to be."
If so, fate has handed him what on the outside appears to be a daunting task. The first-year Energy won just one time in 48 games in 2011-12, struggling from start to finish in a forgettable inaugural season. But Babineau says he is anything but intimidated, and he has reason to be confident.
In his first stop with the Owls, Babineau helped lead the team to back-to-back national tournaments. When he left for Spooner, Babineau helped turn the Wisconsin Knights into a playoff team in their second season, earning Coach of the Year recognition in the process.
His goals in Maple Grove are realistic, but they have plenty of similarities to what transpired with the Knights.
"I didn't take this job to fail," Babineau said. "I took it to succeed and to turn this into a top-three team in this league. That is my goal. Let's win 25 games next year, and see what happens."
The process he'll undertake to rebuild the Energy is already underway, with conversations centered on wooing prospective players to Maple Grove's Open Camp, which will be held June 29 to July 1 at the historic Hodgins-Berardo Arena in Coleraine, Minn.
The Energy's Final Tryout Camp is scheduled for Aug. 3-5 at the Maple Grove Community Center.
Babineau will build his team that weekend. He knows firsthand what type of player it takes to handle the rigors of the 48-game MnJHL regular season, and he is relishing the chance to put build his first team in Maple Grove.
"I really just want to coach," Babineau said. "It's what I do. We'll have players. My first goal is to get 25 guys on the ice, and we'll go from there. If you give me 25 guys that can skate, it's my job to teach them how to play a little bit."