Mike Babcock, the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, has resigned after allegations of invading the privacy of other coach Boone Jenner; allegations that both Babcock and Jenner call a “misrepresentation.”
Mike Babcock has resigned as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Jarmo Kekalainen, the Blue Jackets general manager, called it a “difficult but necessary decision to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team’s upcoming season.”
“Upon reflection, it has become clear that continuing as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets was going to be too much of a distraction,” Babcock said in the statement. Both Babcock and other head coach Boone Jenner say that the allegations are a “misrepresentation” of what actually happened.
“While I’m disappointed to not have had the opportunity to continue the work we’ve begun, I know it’s in the best interest of the organization for me to step away at this time. I wish everyone in the organization well in the upcoming season.”
The resignation came after Paul Bissonette, former National Hockey League player and current TNT host, went on his podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets” that a player told him Babcock asked captain Boone Jenner of the Blue Jackets to show him photos on his phone to “let him know the type of person [he was].” Both Jenner and Babcock have stated that these allegations are a “misrepresentation” of what actually happened.
“While meeting with our players and staff, I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better,” Babcock said in a statement last week.
“There was absolutely nothing more to it than that. The way this was portrayed on the ‘Spittin’ Chiclets’ podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive. … These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.”
10-year NHL veteran Jenner also denied the allegations and backed up Babcock’s statement:
“While meeting with Babs, he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff. He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family. I thought it was a great first meeting and a good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”
“Our players deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace. Unfortunately, that was not the case in Columbus. The club’s decision to move forward with a new head coach is the appropriate course of action,” Marty Walsh, NHLPA Executive Director said in a statement to CNN.
The Blue Jackets have announced Pascal Vincent as the new head coach this past Sunday, stating that they signed him for a two-year contract through the next season. Vincent initially joined the Blue Jackets in 2021 as an associate coach.
“Pascal Vincent is an outstanding coach. He knows our players and organization and is respected by everyone here. He was a strong candidate for our head coaching position several months ago and is in the best position to help us navigate this change as we begin camp and lead our team moving forward,” Kekalainen said.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.